National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) will commence the Lakhanpur toll plaza in district Kathua on Pathankot-Jammu National Highway NH-44 will start on 21 July 2020 at 8:00hrs, said Ajay Kumar Rajak, Project Director, NHAI, PIU-Jammu.
The Project Director informed, "The toll collection for completed 4-lane section from Lakhanpur to Jammu was supposed to commence in the year 2012. In 2014 it was decided to collect the user fee at two locations i.e. Lakhanpur and Thandikhui. However, after various levels of discussions and meetings at different levels in Center and State government, Thandikhui Toll Plaza commenced for user fee collection of the section Samba (Km. 65+00) to Kunjwani (Km. 97+20) and Jammu Bypass (Km. 0+00 to Km. 15+00) on 11.10.2019."
He added that it was decided to handover the existing old Lakhanpur Toll Plaza to NHAI for the purpose of user fee collection in accordance with the National Highway (Determination of Rates and Collection of Fee) Rules, 2008. Now therefore, the user fee collection for the section from Lakhanpur (km 16+350) to Samba (km 65+00) will be done at Lakhanpur fee plaza at km 16+400. The toll rates for the Lakhanpur toll plaza have been widely publicized through Newspaper Advertisements, he said.
It was also stated that the 2 toll plazas of Lakhanpur and Thandikhui are more than 71 Km apart and hence in accordance with the 60Km criteria applicable for only those toll plazas which are on the same section of National Highway. User Fee for 48.65 Km of National Highway is to be collected at Lakhanpur Toll Plaza.
The 12 lane Toll Plaza has been developed for smooth and fast collection of User Fee. The ETC (FASTag) Infrastructure has been installed for electronic toll payment by the road commuters. Further, there are allotted dedicated lane for buses, trucks, LMV and exempted and VIP lanes.
While speaking on the occasion, Rajak said, "Toll Plazas are the strength of the roads. All the money collected through tolls will be utilized in giving better road infrastructures in the country.
NHAI is charging the User Fee as per the rates issued through Gazette notification published by Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, Govt. of India.
He informed that the various development proposals on this Lakhanpur-Jammu section of NH-44 were not being approved because of non-commencement of the toll plaza since 2012.