Mangalore: Protesters obstruct tollgate construction near NITK Suratkal
Daijiworld Media Network – Mangalore (SP/DV)
Mangalore, Mar 26: Protest was staged near National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) Suratkal near here on Tuesday March 26 in opposition to the construction of tollgate at the spot by IRCON.
After having to contend with failures in their efforts to construct the tollgate five times earlier, the officials concerned began constructing the gate at the spot on Monday March 25, under police protection. Protesters came on the scene and obstructed the construction. The construction continued since morning, even after protesters expressed their anguish. By evening, the protesters intervened and stopped the construction.
The officials however, were determined to continue with the construction under police security, and showed a letter written by the district deputy commissioner on March 16 to them, asking for early completion of toll gate construction, as local body election has been completed.
The explanation given by Srimishra, project director of National Highways Authority of India, that only a gate is being built now, and collection of toll is not being initiated, did not cut ice with the protesters. They said that rules do not permit construction of tollgate within 60 km radius of city corporation, and that minimum distance between two tollgates cannot be less than 45 km. Yatish Bykampady of Nagarika Hitarakshna Samiti told news persons that collection of toll should be put off till all the works relating to highway widening are completed.
A decision was then taken to hold a protest on Tuesday, under the aegis of Nagarika Hitarakshana Samiti, by way of blocking the national highway. Disregarding the threats of protest, assistant officers under police protection visited the spot on Tuesday which led to an altercation between the locals and the officers. The protestors contented that as there are three schools and an engineering college in the vicinity, it would cause problems to students and disturb them.
Various leaders including Pushparaj Kudumboor, Mahabala Rai, Mukka corporator, Revati Putran, Sureshchandra Shetty, Kripa Alva, Satyajit Suratkal, Sumithra, T N Ramesh, NITK rickshaw drivers, tourist car operators union, maxicab association representatives, etc were present. Tahsildar, Ravichandra Nayak, visited the spot and tried to pacify the protestors. Suratkal and Panambur police station personnel looked after the security aspects.
A bandh against the construction of tollgate will be observed from Suratkal to Pavanje town on Wednesday March 27. All shop owners have offered to voluntarily close their shops and support the bandh. A protest will also be held at the tollgate construction spot.