Initiate closure of Surathkal tollgate: Khader

Initiate closure of Surathkal tollgate: Khader

District In-charge Minister U T Khader at meeting at the DC Office in Mangaluru on Friday. Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil is also seen.

District In-charge Minister U T Khader has directed NHAI Project Director Samson Vijay Kumar to write to NHAI Regional Office and to NHAI headquarters in New Delhi recommending the closure of Surathkal tollgate by highlighting indefinite protest by activists and the prevailing unrest in the district.

At a meeting at the DC’s office, Khader said, “A delegation will be taken to New Delhi to impress upon the competent authority on the need to close the Surathkal tollgate.”

Vijay Kumar said that he has been pursuing the issue of merging the Surathkal toll with the Hejamady toll since a year. The state government too has given its consent for the merger of the toll plazas. But, Navayug constructions, which is maintaining the toll plaza at Hejamady, has not given consent for the merger, he said. 

He said the developments, including proceedings of the meeting and the indefinite stir staged by Surathkal Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi for the past 11 days, will be brought to the notice of the higher authorities and he will impress upon them on the need to close down the tollgate at

Deputy Commissioner Sasikanth Senthil said that he too will write to authorities concerned after holding talks with MP Nalin Kumar Kateel on the need to close the tollgate.

Earlier, the minister said, “We cannot drag the issue on a temporary toll gate at Surathkal for too long.  Don’t force people to stop the toll collection.” 

Surathkal Tollgate Virodhi Horata Samithi Convener Muneer Katipalla said the toll collection at Surathkal started as a temporary arrangement in 2015. The state government had given its consent for the closure of the tollgate at Surathkal on January 3, 2018. But the NHAI chose not to follow it, he charged. 

Though Rs 8.5 lakh per day is paid to the NHAI by the contractor entrusted with the task of managing the tollgate, there is neither an ambulance nor a toilet facility at the tollgate. Though the contract for toll collection at Surathkal ended on October 30, the old contractor has been asked to continue the toll collection. It is illegal, he claimed.

Khader, in response, directed the NHAI officers to stall the tender process for maintenance of Surathkal

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