It is being collected against established norms, says Balabharathi
It was very unfair on the part of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to collect toll from vehicle users on the Madurai-Ramanathapuram four-lane highway when the road has been laid only up to Paramakudi, said K. Balabharathi, former MLA of the Communist party of India (Marxist) and State executive committee member. So
Demanding the NHAI to immediately stop collection of toll, cadres of Left parties, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Congress and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) staged a protest at the Bogalur toll plaza near Chathirakudi in Ramanathapuram district on Tuesday. Speaking to media persons, Ms. Balabharathi said as per established norms, toll could be collected only when the work was completed. But, in this case, road had been laid only on one side of the four-lane highway.
Every day, hundreds of fishermen, farmers and people from the middle class travelled to Rameswaram. The four-lane highway was functional only up to Paramakudi on the Madurai-Ramanathapuram stretch. Beyond Paramakudi, the works were under way. Under such circumstances, collecting toll from these people was very unfair.
At a time when Opposition parties were demanding the Centre to stop collection of toll in toll plazas which had completed the contractual period, the NHAI had allowed collection even before the road was ready. The people, in a democratic way, would be forced to close the toll plaza, Ms. Balabharathi said.
She also took a dig at Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami for his claims as a farmer. When the plight of farmers was pathetic, the CM should have at least taken steps to close down the toll plaza which was functioning against norms and taxing farmers and fishermen who transported their produce from Rameswaram to other towns, she said.
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