Talapady toll plaza staff take car owner 'for a ride'

 Even as the row over collecting toll at the newly commissioned toll plaza at Talapady on NH-66 (Mangaluru-Kerala road) remains to be settled, a fresh row erupted on Tuesday, with the staff at the toll allegedly taking a vehicle owner for a ride.

Zaimal Abideen, a resident of Bokkapatna in Mangaluru was travelling in a car towards Kerala when he was stopped at the plaza around 1.20 pm. He paid the toll of Rs 35 and proceeded further. After travelling a distance, Abideen glanced at the ticket only to be taken aback that he was cheated.

According to the copy of ticket released by him to the media, the number plate of the vehicle as mentioned on the ticket is false, while the timings is mentioned as 8.30 am. Not willing to let it go off easily, Abideen drove back to the plaza and enquired with the staff. While a staff member admitted to his mistake, the manager did not respond positively, alleged Abideen.

Meanwhile, a staff at the plaza clarified that he handed over the already printed ticket to avoid reprinting. According to him, Abideen had earlier demanded for the ticket for two-way journey. Accordingly, a ticket for Rs 50 was printed. In the meantime, Abideen had a change of mind and wanted to pay only for one-way journey. To avoid printing again, the staff handed over him already available ticket.

Following continuous protests against collection of toll, Food and Civil Supplies Minister U T Khader, also the local MLA had convened a meeting at the DC’s office recently.
 Representatives of Navayuga Udupi Tollway Private Ltd., who had been tasked with collection of toll at Talapady, also attended the meeting. It was eventually decided in the meeting to give exemption to vehicles within the radius of five km from the plaza. While non-commercial vehicles within 20 km radius (KA 19 and KL-14) have to avail monthly  pass to avoid paying toll. The next meeting is scheduled on February 25 to find out a permanent solution.

Accordingly, the staff at toll gate are diligently verifying the registration certificate (RC) book of the vehicles to ascertain whether the vehicles belong to the owners of villages within five km of the plaza to extend the benefit for now.

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