Toll plaza at Surathkal, Hejamady likely to be merged

Toll plaza at Surathkal, Hejamady likely to be merged

The National Highway Authority of India is mulling over merging the toll plaza at Surathkal (Mukka) and Navayug toll plaza at Hejamady on NH 66. The NHAI has sought permission from the state government in this regard.

The NHAI has decided to transfer the stretch from Surathkal toll plaza to Nanthoor Circle and from there to Padil Junction on NH 73 to Navayug Toll Road jurisdiction. Accordingly, it has decided to merge Surathkal toll plaza with Hejamady toll plaza. The NHAI regional office senior officer has written to the state government's chief secretary seeking approval for the same.

The road from Surathkal to BC road was developed by New Mangalore Port Road (NMPR) Company and the company is in a vicious circle of loan. The company is finding it difficult to adjust grants for filling the potholes on the stretch. At the same time, there is stiff opposition from the general public for operation of two toll plazas within a distance of 10.86-km. To find a solution for it, the NHAI has decided to include Mukka to Nanthoor-Padil Junction, covering a distance of 18.36-km to Navayug Toll Road and merge two tolls.

The NMPR Company had availed a loan of Rs 363 crore for laying Surathkal -B C Road stretch under port connectivity project. However, it was able to collect only Rs 60 crore from the toll so far. The company is finding it difficult to repay the loan. As a result, even maintenance of the stretch could not be taken up. Hence, it has been decided to hand over the stretch of 18.36-km and toll collection to Navyug company. The NHAI has already initiated the process, said NHAI Mangaluru regional office project engineer Ajith Kumar.

"After the state government gives approval, the proposal will be sent to the NHAI heaquarters in New Delhi. Later, the NHAI and Navyug Company will hold talks on the merger. After getting approvals from the Ministry of Road Transport and National Highway, the process of merging the two toll plazas will be completed."

In fact, the public had opposed the setting up of a toll plaza at Surathkal from the beginning. The residents had alleged that two toll plazas had been opened by flouting the NHAI rules.

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