Tempers run high over toll hike
As the revised toll charge collection continued on the Kempegowda International Airport Road, striking taxi drivers refused to pay and many vehicle users protested against the sudden increase in the rate by blocking the road at the entrance of the toll gates.
Protests, heated arguments and chaos continued throughout Sunday, police sources told Deccan Herald, as people expressed anger and dissatisfaction over the four-fold increase in fare. Various organisations and a few Kannada activists joined the agitators near the toll gates. “Quite a lot of people had gathered to protest there. The situation was the same as that of (Saturday) midnight. There was tension and chaos, with people quarrelling with Navayuga officials, asking them why there was no prior intimation about the hike,” added the source.
Employees of the Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Private Limited man the plaza on airport road where toll is collected.
Taxi drivers blocking the entrance of the toll gates led to traffic jam even on Sunday. The officials manning the toll plaza were left with no choice but to let them go without paying.
While the BMTC is contemplating passing on the toll burden to commuters, taxi drivers are likely to stage a protest against the hike. “It is unfair to expect the commuters to bear the burden. We will fight on behalf of the commuters. We will join them in protest,” said a senior member of the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC).
Chaos ensued the minute the revised fare was implemented. While staff manning the toll plaza appeared to have been alerted about possible developments, the Navayuga officials seemed well prepared to face the anticipated protest.
Technical glitches in the system added to the confusion. Most people manning the collection booths complained that they were unable to log out.
Basavaraj, a resident of BTM Layout in the City, expressed anger, saying a 10 per cent hike would still be reasonable. “If this was the case, why did they have to wait till the elections were over (to implement the hike)?” he asked.