Protest against toll collection at Hejmady

10:26 AM, Friday, August 17th, 2018

udupiUdupi: A large number of people and various organisations staged a protest against collection of toll from local vehicles at the toll plazas at Hejmady and Sasthan in Udupi district for about a couple of hours on Thursday.

The staff at the two toll plazas began collecting toll for local vehicles from Thursday morning under tight police protection. This angered the local people who pointed out that toll was being collected even when the widening work on National Highway 66 had not been completed by Navayuga Udupi Tollway Pvt. Ltd. at many places from Hejmady to Kundapur in Udupi district.

However, Ravi Babu, toll officer, told the protesters that toll was being collected only after getting clearance from the State government.

Deviprasad Shetty, president of the Dakshina Kannada Mattu Udupi Rashtriya Heddari Horata Samiti, said that Navayuga had not completed the widening work though eight years had elapsed. The work had been executed in an unscientific manner. The delay in the works was responsible for accidents and even loss of lives on National Highway 66, he said.

At Sasthan, Pratap Shetty, president of the Rashtriya Heddari Jagriti Samiti, said that the samiti had urged the district administration and company officials not to allow collection of toll for local vehicles until the widening work had been completed. There were no roadside drains by the side of the highway and it resulted in water-logging in many places. The service roads too had not been constructed in many places.

The construction of the overpass at Karavali Junction in Udupi and the flyover in Kundapur was still pending. The highway was in a bad shape from Hejmady to Kundapur.

Assistant Commissioner of Kundapur Sub Division T. Bhoobalan had served a notice to the company over the delay in the completion of work, he said.

Meanwhile, Halady Srinivas Shetty, Kundapur MLA, and Mr. Bhoobalan rushed to Sasthan and pacified the protesters.

It was then decided that toll would not be collected at the toll plazas at Hejmady and Sasthan till the matter was thrashed out at a meeting to be held on this issue at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office chaired by Deputy Commissioner Priyanka Mary Francis here on Friday.

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