Toll booths vandalised in Kolhapur; Chavan appeals for calm

Toll booths vandalised in Kolhapur; Chavan appeals for calm

Even as the agitation against toll collection on nine roads in Maharashtra's Kolhapur city today took a violent turn with suspected Shiv Sena activists vandalising four toll booths, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan appealed the agitators to remain calm.

"I am monitoring the situation in Kolhapur. I am keeping a watch on it. Law and order situation should not be disturbed. We are trying to find a way out (over the toll issue)," Chavan told reporters in Mumbai.

"A discussion on the issue was held two days back and there is a possibility of finding a way out," he said.

Police said in Kolhapur that they have detained some of the protesters who vandalised the booths.

Shiv Sena workers are being blamed for the attack.

There is no report of anybody having been injured during the attack on booths, police said.

Some protesters vandalised the office of IRB Infrastructure Developers, a private company, which manages the toll booths on nine roads leading to the city.

Kolhapur Guardian Minister and state Co-operative Minister Harshawardhan Patil said the situation is tense but under control. "The real issue is to cancel the collection of toll there," he said.

The city residents have been agitating against the toll collection at the booths on nine roads for the last three years.

About dozen members of anti-toll action committee launched a hunger strike six days ago, saying that they would not call off unless the toll collection was stopped.

Maharashtra Minister of State for Home Satej Patil and Labour Minister Hasan Mushrif yesterday reportedly visited the activists who were on hunger strike, and assured them that government would ask the company to stop the toll collection.

However, contrary to reports, the collection continued at the booths this morning, which led to the violence.

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