31 arrested for protesting against toll collection at Hejmady

9:39 AM, Saturday, February 11th, 2017

toll collection at HejmadyHejmady: The police arrested 31 persons after they protested against toll collection at the Toll Plaza here on Friday. The protesters, who include leaders and members of Hejmady Nagarika Samiti, have given a call for Udupi district bandh on February 13 on the issue.

After the district administration gave its nod on Thursday, toll collection began at the Toll Plazas at both Hejmady and Sasthan (Gundmi) villages from midnight on Friday.

The protesters, who were angry that toll was being collected without completion of widening works at several places on the Hejmady-Kundapur stretch on National Highway 66, began their protest in front of the Toll Plaza here in the morning.

Due to their protests, toll collection was stopped at the Toll Plaza from 9.20 a.m. to about 2.50 p.m. The main demand of the protesters was that there should be no collection of toll until all widening works were completed on the Hejmady-Kundapur stretch.

Kaup Diwakar Shetty, Chairman of Kaup Town Planning Authority, pointed out that the widening works had not been taken up from Hejmady to Padubidri and at several other places. The flyover at Kundapur and an overpass in Udupi had not been completed, he said.

Deviprasad Shetty, president of the Belapu Gram Panchayat, said that there was a four-year delay in the widening work. A final decision on toll collection should be taken at the meeting to be held at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office in Udupi on February 13. No prior notice was given about the toll collection, he said.

Later, Maheshchandra, Udupi Tahsildar, Shilpa Nag, Assistant Commissioner, N. Vishnuvardhana, Additional Superintendent of Police, tried to negotiate between the protesters and the officials of the Navayuga Company, which has undertaken the widening work of the Hejmady-Kundapur stretch of NH 66.

Shankar Rao, Chief Project Manager of Navayuga Company, said that vehicles with registration numbers starting with KA 20 would be exempted from toll collection for three days till the meeting on February 13. Concessional passes would be provided to vehicle owners living in a 5-km radius around the Toll Plaza, he said.

But this was not acceptable to the protesters. Finally, the police arrested 31 persons, including the leaders of the samiti, at around 2.50 p.m. Soon after the arrest, toll collection began at the plaza here.

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