The Supreme Court on June 12 stayed an order of Punjab and Haryana High Court that had asked the NHAI to take over the 291 Km Panipat-Jalandhar highway project from the project concessionaire Soma Isolux NH One Tollway Private Limited as it failed to complete the project by 2012. A bench of justices Gyan Sudha Misra and Madan B Lokur also issued notices to the Centre, Haryana and National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on the plea of the project concessionaire and fixed the matter for hearing on July 23.
Soma Isolux NH One Tollway had given an undertaking to the High Court that it would complete the project by 2012. However, the High Court later asked the NHAI to take over the work from the project concessionaire as it remained incomplete. The apex court, meanwhile, asked the NHAI to consult the Centre as to whether the toll plazas can be shifted to places as desired by the project concessionaire which is alleging massive loss on the ground that most of the commuters avoid the existing toll plazas.
The court said if shifting of the toll plazas can be allowed, then the project concessionaire be issued a letter to that effect. It also said if toll plazas cannot be shifted, then the NHAI will have to file an affidavit stating the reasons for not allowing it.