Collection of toll on national highway at Sasthana opposed

The decision by the Navyug Constructions to introduce toll collection on NH-66 at Sasthana from midnight led the residents of the district stage a rigorous and infinite protest at the toll gate on Tuesday. The agitators who had gathered in large number staged the protest by parking vehicles across the toll gate. They alleged that the company has taken a major decision of introducing the toll without taking the local residents into confidence, calling it the height of irresponsibility.

Speaking on the occasion, one of the leaders Prathap Shetty said the company is reckless as it has not completed the proposed works. There are neither proper service roads nor stormwater drains. Accidents are increasing in number and the unscientific planning of the national highway has created chaos. The people’s representatives are, however, least worried about such irregularities. There are no basic facilities. He said that all of sudden the company has announced that the toll would be collected from midnight, which is a big nuisance.

Former minister Jayaprakash Hegde said the decision of the company is unlawful. The company has suddenly issued a notification for toll collection and also instructed the local public to collect pass for the movement. It should give at least 15 days of time before toll collection. He said he has raised the issue with the police superintendent. The officer has also echoed a similar opinion and has declined to offer security to the toll gate. The superintendent has said that the Police Department should have been intimated at least two weeks prior and discussion should have been organised. The company should announce the decision of toll collection through media. Hegde said the deputy commissioner would call a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the issue.

He added that the agitators will withdraw the protest only after an assurance of fairness. Toll collection should begin after a meeting held under the leadership of deputy commissioner. The agitators would stage protest for 12 hours to ensure that toll collection does not take place. The NHAI has refused to support toll collection. The toll should be collected only after the grievances of the people are heard and discussed to find the solution, he said.

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