Protest over toll enters sixth day

Protest over toll enters sixth day

Slogans such as ‘We want justice’ and ‘Come what may, we shall remain united’ rent the air at the Devanahalli toll plaza as the protest against the steep hike in the toll on vehicles plying the stretch entered the sixth day on Friday.

Holding placards, a 50-odd crowd of protesters squatted on the road, about 100 metres from the toll plaza, and raised slogans against the NHAI and the Union government for the “unjust” hike.

Police were present in sizeable numbers near the plaza to avert any untoward incident. Fire tenders and an ambulance, too, were stationed at the site.

However, the protest remained peaceful. Unlike on the previous occasions, vehicles plied the stretch after paying the toll.

Karnataka Lorry Owners and Agents Association president G R Shanmugappa blamed Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Oscar Fernandes, and the officials of his ministry for the increase in the toll.

“In the last five years, we have seen four ministers in the Road Transport Ministry, a good indication of what is happening there.

The government should not play with our sentiments. We have been holding protests peacefully so far, but we are ready to even die fighting this injustice,” he said.

Shanmugappa demanded that the State government immediately intervene and force the Union government to roll back the hike.

“If the Union government does not withdraw it, we will take an extreme step.

The South Indian Truck Owners’ Association will not ply vehicles from neighbouring states to Bangalore,” said Shanmugappa.

He claimed that the four-km-long flyover was not part of the agreement between the concessionaire and the NHAI, but it was suddenly introduced only to benefit some people

He said such an arbitrary toll existed nowhere in the country, except Bangalore.

Passengers upset

It is learnt that some taxi service providers have been charging Rs 150 extra from passengers for plying one way, although the toll for one way is Rs 75 and Rs 115 for both ways.

Taxis are charging Rs 110 as parking fee from passengers besides the regular fare, sources said.

Ravindra, a passenger heading towards Bangalore, said the increase in toll was a big burden on the commuting public.

“There is a wrong notion among those in power that people who travel in aeroplane are rich so they will readily pay such a big amount. Such hike will have implications on every sphere of life,” he said.

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