Stir against toll collection at Surathkal begins

Stir against toll collection at Surathkal begins

Surathkal Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi members began their indefinite protest against collection of toll at toll plaza at Surathkal Junction on Monday.

Members of Surathkal Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi will launch an indefinite day-and-night agitation from Monday demanding the cancellation of the toll collection at Surathkal Toll plaza on NH 66 starting Monday.

The activists said that the promise of closing the toll gate in Surathkal was not fulfilled even after four years. A meeting of higher officials from state government, held on January 3, had resolved to close the toll gate in Surathkal. But the Centre had twice renewed the contract for toll collection in Surathkal and tenders had been floated again for toll collection in Surathkal. The indefinite stir will not be withdrawn until the closure of toll gate.

The contract for collecting toll in Surathkal will end on October 30. NHAI had promised to merge Surathkal with Hejamady toll plaza in the past. The distance between Surathkal and Hejamady toll plaza is only nine kilometre. Unfortunately, the toll is collected at Surathkal illegally, said the protesters.

Declaring the toll collection as “daylight robbery,” committee convener Muneer Katipalla said the toll collection at Surathkal should be stopped immediately. Further, he said the Kuloor old bridge should not be closed untill work on the new bridge was completed. If the old bridge is closed, it will cause  inconvenience to travellers from Mangaluru and Udupi. The old bridge should be repaired at the earliest, he demanded.

Katipalla urged National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to construct the service roads along NH 66. It is the duty of NHAI to keep the road in motorable condition. The entire stretch of highway from Talapady to Surathkal is filled with potholes.

Former MLA Vijay Kumar Shetty, corporators Dayanand Shetty, Revathi Putran, former mayor Hilda Alva and others participated.