Parking on highways? Your car may be auctioned off
Additionally, NHAI authorities could now refuse, regulate or divert any proposed or existing access to the highway or close off traffic on the highway.
The highway authority can now impose fines on violators, impound their vehicles and auction them off if the fines are not paid in a week.
As of now, NHAI does not have the authority to take action against vehicles parked illegally on the highway or in service lanes. It can only lift and sidestep vehicles. With the new notification, it is set to get added decision-making powers. “Under Section 24 and 27 of the Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002, all project directors can take decisions on issues related to maintenance of land and traffic management on highways,” NHAI project director and highway administrator of Gurugram, Ashok Sharma, told TOI.
In addition to NHAI, the ministry extended decision-making powers on land and traffic management on highways to the NHIDC and the national highway wing of the public works department in a recent notification.
“The project director of the National Highways Authority of India, general manager or deputy general manager of the National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited and the executive engineer of the national highway wing of the state public works department shall exercise the powers and functions of the highway administration conferred under sections 24, 26, 27, 30, 33, 36, 37 and 43 of the [Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2002] in respect of their respective territorial jurisdiction,” the notification states.
Some of the added areas of jurisdiction include prevention of occupation of highway land, removal of encroachers, and recovery of cost of removal of authorized occupation and fines. Additionally, NHAI authorities could now refuse, regulate or divert any proposed or existing access to the highway or close off traffic on the highway. “Police and other departments have been notified about these changes brought about by the Centre. They have also been made aware that NHAI authorities will start taking action on matters under its jurisdiction once all formalities are complete,” Sharma added.
A detailed standard operating procedure is being drafted, laying out operations, penalty charges and guidelines for conducting trials of offenders. Once that is done, crackdown on illegal parking, encroachment and illegal hoardings will be stepped up. Violators will be given a week’s time to pay the fines and claim vehicles, failing which the vehicles will be auctioned to recover costs. To do this, the NHAI is going to revive its trial room, where matters related to impounding and auctioning will be taken care of.
“The fundamentals of the work will be the same. The department will just have a say in matters and won’t just be an authorizer,” another NHAI official said, adding that this will strengthen the NHAI project implementation units.