Toll hike: Trucks, cabs to go on indefinite stir

Toll hike: Trucks, cabs to go on indefinite stir

Lorry and taxi drivers will launch an indefinite strike on May 9, demanding the rollback of the four-fold hike in toll on the road leading to the Kempegowda International Airport (Bellary Road).

While private vehicles will not be targeted, lorries, heavy vehicles, taxis and other yellow board vehicles will not offer services on the road.

Apart from the likely inconvenience to commuters to and from the KIA, the transport of goods, including agricultural produce, will be hit.

G R Shanmugappa, president of Federation of Karnataka Lorry Owners’ and Agents’ Association, told reporters near the toll booth close to the airport on Wednesday that they were not averse to paying the toll. But the hike is unreasonable, he said. “Earlier, we would pay about 35 paise per km. Now it has gone beyond our reach.”

Shanmugappa said that motorists did not have to pay toll on similar roads in Hosur and Nelamanagala. “According to clause 22/4, a service road must be provided.

It was in 2008 that the concessionaire violated the agreement and made changes according to its convenience,” he said, in a possible reference to Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Pvt Ltd.

Shanmugappa also accused the company of not making the details of toll collection transparent. “In countries like China, there is complete transparency.

Why these people cannot tell us how much toll was collected,” he said and claimed that the company collected at least Rs 20 lakh a day.

Shanmugappa further said they had made representations to the Union Minister for Transport, Road and Highways, Oscar Fernandes, and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) about the matter.

“No one is allowed to collect toll within the BBMP limits. How is the company collecting it then,” he sought to know.

Meanwhile, protests against the toll hike entered the fourth day.

JD(S) and various Kannada organisations staged a protest at the toll booth.

A man named Srinivas, who claimed to be a member of the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike, managed to sneak in near the toll plaza despite the tight police security, and broke windowpanes of booth 12 and 13, prompting the police to detain him.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda led a protest rally from Race Course Road.

“To ensure development, it is important to build national highways. But it’s not fair on Navayuga’s part to hike the toll in this manner,” he said.

Gowda said the State government could not pass the buck to the Centre. He promised to raise the issue in Parliament.

“There is a need for discussion. The government should revisit the agreement it has signed with Navayuga,” he demanded.

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