Daijiworld Media Network – Udupi (EP)
Udupi, Apr 20: Members of national highway awareness committee who noticed toll being collected from local vehicles entered the toll plaza at Sastan, opened the toll gates and protested on Thursday April 20.
NH awareness committee members had asked that vehicles within a radius of 5 km of the toll plaza be allowed to move without paying toll. They had also asked private vehicles with KA 20 registration to obtain monthly pass. The remaining yellow number plate vehicles were supposed to pay toll like others.
In this regard, on Thursday, when the members of committee went to caution the staff, they saw that toll was being collected from all KA 20 registration vehicles. The agitated members of the committee pushed the gates of the plaza aside and protested. They did not allow the staff to collect toll from any vehicle, and as a result, vehicles passed through the tollgates without any payment.
There were arguments between the toll staff too. The committee members asked if there was any value for the meeting held with the chief secretary of PWD and the orders of the high court. The staff of the toll centre fought verbally while the committee members took the manager of the plaza to task. The committee members had a severe argument with him. The highway patrol staff tried to pacify the protesters.
Navyug company engineer Raghavendra came to the spot and made an unsuccessful attempt to calm down the protestors. The protestors meanwhile took the engineer to task saying that the decision taken in the meeting with PWD chief secretary was not being implemented. "The decision was to exempt all KA 20 registration vehicles until the work is completed which is not being implemented," they said.
Engineer Reghavendra in response assured that local vehicles within 5 km radius and KA 20 private vehicles would be exempted from toll. The protestors did not agree to it and demanded that all KA 20 vehicles should be exempted. Finally, discussion between the protestors and the engineer came to an end with both deciding to maintain status quo.
The committee members later urged the engineer to construct a footpath as there was no space for pedestrians. The engineer agreed to look into it.