The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has come out with standard operating procedures, under which managers and supervisors of toll plazas will wear body cameras while dealing with unruly commuters, so that the sequence of events can be recorded.
State-owned NHAI in a statement on Monday said it has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to safeguard commuters and toll operators, reduce incidents of altercations and strengthen security at toll plazas.
According to an official statement, the detailed SOPs include guidelines for NHAI field offices to ensure strict implementation and adherence by toll-collecting agencies to manage staff and road users.
According to the SOPs, NHAI field offices will ensure that the toll collecting agency performs their duties following guidelines.
"Any anticipated incidence of violence should only be handled by the toll plaza manager/lane supervisors, who will wear body cameras to record instances of violence at the toll plazas," the statement said.
In case of unruly behavior by a road user, the statement said the lane supervisor shall intervene and try to resolve the issue peacefully.
"Under no circumstances, toll plaza staff shall use provocative language or resort to violence. Toll plaza officials may take help from local police and lodge an FIR in case the issue persists or escalates," the statement said, adding that videography can be done by the staff as proof to report such incidents to the police.
The NHAI also announced its new initiative 'Toll par Calm', under which it has collaborated with professional psychologists to provide anger management training to toll plaza staff.
The first training session was conducted at Murthal toll plaza in Haryana, and more training will be conducted at other toll plazas across the country, the statement said.
Any incident involving an act of violence by a road user or damage to public property at a toll plaza should immediately be reported by the toll collecting agency to police and the NHAI Project Implementation Unit with all necessary documents/proof, it said.
NHAI field offices shall ensure that the toll collecting agency has completed police verification of each and every staff deployed at the toll plaza, the statement said.
In addition, toll collecting agencies have been asked to direct toll plaza staff to be courteous with road users, it added.
Toll collection agencies have also been asked to give monthly statement of incidents/FIRs to the NHAI Project Implementation Unit concerned, so that in case of inaction by authorities, NHAI field officials can report it to the district collector and seek action.
The statement noted that the issuance of the SOPs will help minimise instances of altercations between road users and toll plaza staff and will help both highway users and toll plaza officials in smooth conduct of day-to-day operations.