Farmer might prevails, no toll for them

Charges waived on Dehradun highway after 37-day agitation

The 37 day-long occupation by farmers of an important toll plaza on Meerut-Dehradun highway in Uttar Pradesh ended on Thursday evening after the toll company agreed not to levy any charges on their  vehicles.

The toll company also agreed to halve the charges for local people who use the toll plaza near Meerut in large number on a daily basis, according to officials here.

Bhartiya Kisan Union (BKU) activists, who had been occupying the plaza for the past 37 days after chasing away the toll employees, also called off their dharna from the other toll plazas as well, sources here said.

BKU chief Rakesh Tikait said it was a victory for the farmers. The union had been demanding that the farmers, whose land had been acquired for the highway project, should be allowed free access and should not be charged anything. They also demanded lesser charges for local people.

BKU had last week also occupied another toll plaza at Braj Ghat near Ghaziabad in support of its demands.

Hundreds of lathi wielding union activists had locked the toll cabins and chased away the toll collecting personnel and allowed vehicles to pass through without paying any charges.

All attempts to persuade BKU leaders to leave the toll plaza did not yield results.
A number of  kisan mahapanchayats, which were held in the past to discuss the issue remained inconclusive.

Tikait had threatened that  farmers would close the highway and destroy the toll plaza completely if their demands were not met by the government.

Uttar Pradesh government has initiated several farmer-friendly steps in the past few days.

To appease the farmers, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav also assured that his government would consider waiving toll charges on the Yamuna Expressway connecting Noida and Agra.

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