Police arrest 67 at Sasthan during protest against toll collection

10:09 AM, Monday, February 13th, 2017

UdupiUdupi: The police arrested 67 persons for violating prohibitory orders and protesting against collection of toll about a kilometre from the toll plaza here on Saturday.

The district administration had on Friday clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code in a 2-km radius of the toll plaza both at Sasthan and Hejmady till the midnight of February 15.

The protesters, who came together under the banner of Rashtriya Heddari Jagriti Samiti, were demanding that Navayuga Company, which has undertaken the widening works and is collecting toll, exempt all vehicles from Udupi district from paying toll.

They demanded immediate completion of the construction work on many service roads, the flyover at Kundapur and the overpass in Udupi, which were still pending on the Hejmady-Kundapur stretch of National Highway 66.

Kota Srinivas Poojary, MLC, who participated in the protest, said that service roads had to be constructed to connect the villages on either side of the NH 66. Storm-water drains too had to be constructed. Navayuga Company should relax toll collection for vehicles from Udupi district. It was wrong to collect toll from vehicles by imposing prohibitory orders. He would raise this issue in the Legislative Council, he said.

Santosh Kumar Shetty, member of the samiti, said that elected representatives are not interested in the toll problem. The Deputy Commissioner too was indifferent to the problems of the people. The police were protecting the toll plaza of the company instead of the people. The toll plazas at Hejmady and then at Surathkal at a distance of 15 kilometres from one another belied all logic, he said.

Kishore Kumar Kundapur, another member of the samiti, said that the people were not against paying toll. But it should be collected only after the widening work on the Hejmady-Kudnapur stretch of the NH 66 was completed.

The construction of the flyover at Kundapur and the overpass in Udupi was going on for years without any signs of completion, he said. As the protesters were marching towards the toll plaza, the police announced that the prohibitory orders were in force through the public address system. The protesters then squatted on the highway forcing the police to arrest them.

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