Citizens, forums continue stir at Talapady toll gate

Police resort to caning to control protesters; stir to intensify today

 The protest against toll collection at Karnataka - Kerala border area Talapady entered the second day on Thursday.

The protesters carried on even as police resorted to mild caning, but stepped back only after the Navyug company official gave an assurance of completing work before collecting toll at Talapady.

Gadinadu Rakshana Vedike members, Congress leaders from Manjeshwara and Talapady, autorickshaw and bus operators had staged a protest on Wednesday and the police had arrested 12 protesters. On Thursday, members of Gadinadu Rakshana Vedike, United Democratic Youth Front (UDYF) Manjeshwar, Manjeshwar and Ullal blocks of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and the local villagers staged protests after gathering on both sides of the toll gate. UDYF supporters also took out a protest march from Talapady till the toll gate. Some of them tried to sneak into the toll collection booth. Ullal, KSRP and Mangaluru police tried to control the protestors while the protesters shouted slogans.

‘Harassment’

Manjeshwar MLA Abdul Razak and Congress leader Harshad Varkadi said that the toll collection should be stopped immediately as the work on the service road and other basic facilities have not been completed. The public are harassed, he said.

Police resorted to mild caning on protesters who tried to stop the vehicles. Some protesters made their way to Mangaluru to submit a memorandum to the deputy commissioner.

Simultaneously, the protest by Gadinadu Rakshana Vedike and SDPI went stronger and the police tried to arrest the protesters. This resulted in a heated argument between the protesters and the police personnel. The protesters did not ease their stand and said that the protest will not be stopped until the officials from Navyug constructions give assurance of completing the works on basic facilities.

The protesters stopped the agitation when Navyug company manager Bhanuprakash said that toll will not be collected from local vehicle drivers till 6 pm.

Kasargod ZP standing committee president Harshad, Youth Congress president Nasar Mogral, Block Panchayat president A K M Ashraf and others were present.

Mediatory talks fail

The Navyug company manager had invited the protesters for talks at 6 pm. But as no official turned up, the protesters spoke to a person by name Shankar, who spoke to the people in an irresponsible fashion. Raged by the response by the official, the protesters said that as the company did not respond in a suitable manner, Gadinadu Rakshana Vedike will observe a bandh on February 11.

Shops from Talapady to Kotekar will remain closed and the vehicles will be stopped. There will be no problem for the movement of newspaper vans, milk vans and ambulances. Medical shops will remain open. The public should cooperate from 6 am to 6 pm, the protesters said.

Due to the imposition of toll, the bus fares of Kerala and Karnataka transport corporations have been hiked. The rates have been increased from Rs 17 to Rs 18 and Rs 18 to Rs 21.

Public faced inconvenience as there is no pass system in the toll plaza. Although the vehicles lined up in front of the pass distribution centre, the toll staff did not provide passes.

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