Toll collection: Stir at Sastan, Hejamadi

Toll collection: Stir at Sastan, Hejamadi

People, under the aegis of Heddari Jagruthi Samithi, stage a protest against toll collection from local vehicles at Sasthana tollgate in Udupi on Monday.

Members of Heddari Jagruthi Samithi and Jilla Rashtriya Heddari Horata Samithi staged protests at Sasthana and Hejamady tollgates after NHAI and Navayug Construction Company (contractor) began toll collection from local vehicles, amid police security, at the tollgates from Monday.

At Sasthana, hundreds of people under the aegis of Heddari Jagruthi Samithi staged protest after the toll collection began for vehicles, including local vehicles, at 8 am on Monday.

They demanded that deputy commissioner should visit the spot and said that toll shouldn’t be collected till the arrival of the DC.

Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Kota Srinivas Poojary met the protesters. Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis, SP Laxman Nimbargi and AC Bhoobalan appealed to NHAI and Navayug company not to collect toll till District in Charge Minister Jayamala convenes a meeting on November 28.

All efforts to contact Transport Minister and District In charge Minister by Kota Poojary went in vain.

To ensure law and order, police detained the protesters and housed them at Dharmavaram Hall, in Brahmavar.

Samithi president Prathap Shetty said, “We did not disturb law and order and were peacefully walking near the toll plaza. The police waylaid and detained us, which is clear violation of human rights.”

As a precautionary measure, the police had strengthened security in and around the toll plaza since the morning.

Udupi Additional SP Kumarchandra, DySP P Jaishankar, Circle Inspector Srikanth, 11 PSIs including Seetharam, Manjunath, Manjppa, Kota station officer Narasimha Shetty, 11 ASIs, 80 head constables and constables, 2 KSRP platoons, 3 DAR platoons were deployed near the tollgate.

Udupi Tahsildar Pradeep Kurudekar, RTO and fire service personnel were also present.

Members of Jilla Rashtriya Heddari Horata Samithi staged a symbolic protest against toll collection from local vehicles at Hejamady toll plaza.

The protesters said that the work on National Highway 66 began 10 years ago and has remained incomplete. “We are forced to pay toll for the incomplete national highway. Let the authorities collect toll after the work is complete,”  they added.

Activist Shekar Hejamady said, “In spite of bringing the issue of incomplete NH works to the notice of the MPs and MLAs, we have failed to find a solution to the problem. We will gherao District in Charge minister (Jayamala) for failing to solve toll issue during her visit to the district.”

All the protesters were detained and later released.

When localvehicle owners and drivers opposed the toll collection, the RTO officials made them to pay the toll.

In the meantime, a press release from Navayug company stated that Hejamady residents were exempted from paying toll. The vehicle owners should furnish suitable documents to ascertain their residence in Hejamady and collect a pass to get the exemption from toll collection.

The release stated that owners of vehicles coming within 20-km jurisdiction of the toll plaza, with white number plates should furnish RC and address proof and collect a pass for Rs 250.

With the pass, he/she can travel any number of times on the toll plaza.

For the LCV vehicles, if one pays Rs 1,850 per month, then he can travel 50 trips on the toll. Buses and trucks have to pay Rs 3,880 for 50 trips in a month. The pass for vehicles with yellow name plate will be decided later.