Activists demand closure of toll plaza at Surathkal

Activists demand closure of toll plaza at Surathkal

A view of the toll gate near NITK in Surathkal.

The members of the Toll Gate Virodhi Samithi, Surathkal, will stage a protest on August 14, demanding a shutdown of the toll gate at Surathkal.

The Samithi members, who are protesting in association with members of various other organisations, have also demanded completion of the service road from Nanthoor to Surathkal and a repair of the National Highway 66 between the two points.

Samithi convener Muneer Katipalla told reporters on Tuesday that the authorities had promised to stop toll collection at Surathkal once the Hejamady toll plaza started functioning. “It has been over six months since the toll plaza started functioning, but the Surathkal booth continues to operate. In fact, the Centre has renewed the contract for toll collection on July 30,” he said.

He said that the state government too had written to the NHAI to close the toll plaza at Surathkal once the contract ends on July 30, but the NHAI failed to do so. “MP Nalin Kumar Kateel, during his recent inspection, had promised that the Surathkal plaza contract would not be renewed. The contract renewal, however, shows that the MP works in favour of the NHAI and its contractor,” Katipalla alleged.

“Although the National Highway rules state that the distance between two toll plazas should be at least 40 km, the distance between the plazas at Hejamady and at Surathkal is only 9 km. Also, toll tax cannot be collected before 75% of the work is completed and before the service road work is completed. So far, however, only 25 to 30% of the work has been completed between Surathkal and Nanthoor. The land has been acquired to lay the service road but no work has been taken up,” said Katipalla.

Speaking further on national highway rules, the convener said that the rules state that there should be no pothole on the toll collection road. If found, the potholes should be filled within 48 hours of appearance.

Katipalla urged the authorities to repair the stretch between Surathkal and Nanthoor.

“Traffic jams are a daily affair on the Kuloor bridge as it is full of potholes. It is even more dangerous during rain,” he complained.

“Unable to assess the depth of the potholes, motorists end up falling. An overbridge should be constructed at Nanthoor to solve the traffic congestion at the Circle,” he demanded.

Corporator Revathi Puthran said that the authorities had started collecting toll at Surathkal Lighthouse to Mallamar connecting road. With efforts from the local residents, the toll collection had been stopped, she insisted.

Corporator Dayanand said, “The Kuloor bridge was asphalted a few months ago. However, due to unscientific work on the stormwater drains, the road has been fully damaged.”

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