Raj Thackeray asks M'rashtra people not to pay road tax

Stepping up his campaign against toll collection by contractors on highways, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Raj Thackeray on Tuesday urged the people across state to desist from paying toll, on grounds that “the policy lacks transparency and is being siphoned off.”

Talking to media, Thackeray admitted that he was one of the first proponents of the toll collection by people who want to use satin-smooth highways, “but in Democratic Front regime, it seems that the money does not end up in maintenance of roads but goes into somebody's pocket.

“I have asked my party workers to hang around toll booths and ask people to boycott the payment.”

“Toll collection,” which was privatised during the BJP-SS regime, according to MNS leader, “has now become a form of exploitation.”

Directing an attack on Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Chaggan Bhujbal, the MNS leader said: “The policies which were framed after a lot of deliberation are not implemented properly.

We are in the process of writing a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan; we want to ask him as to why contractors despite completion of their tenure and recovery of construction costs along with profits continue to collect charges from public.”

Since Tuesday morning over a dozen MNS party workers were taken into custody for vandalising toll booths inside the city. Several detentions were reported also from highways outside the periphery of Mumbai.

The state-wide “boycott-toll-payment” campaign was launched last month by the MNS. It had lost steam as the month rolled by; however, desperately seeking attention, the MNS re-launching the campaign at a time when the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP),  pressuring the Congress in state, has raised doubts in the minds of political observers.

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