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Minister promises all efforts to seek toll concession

Published On : 16 Feb 2017   |  Reported By : Courtesy : The Hindu   |  Pic On: Photo credit : The Hindu

Udupi (The Hindu): Minister of State for Fisheries, Youth Services and Sports Pramod Madhwaraj has said that all efforts would be made to provide maximum concession for local vehicles at the toll plazas at Hejmady and Sasthan in Udupi district as per the norms.

Addressing presspersons here on Wednesday, Mr. Madhwaraj said that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had to take the decision on this issue. He spoke to Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra Khuntia on February 14 and requested him to hold a meeting on the toll issue.

Local vehicles carrying registration numbers KA 20 from Udupi district and KA 19 from Dakshina Kannada district should be given concession.

People living in a 5-km radius of the toll plazas used their vehicles for local movement within that radius. “They would not be using the entire stretch of the Hejmady-Kundapur on National Highway 66. Why should they pay for the entire stretch?” he asked.

Besides the Ministers and legislators of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada, the officers of the Public Works Department, the National Highways Authority of India and Navayuga company, which was undertaking the widening work of the Kundapur-Hejmady stretch, too would be participating in the meeting to be called by Mr. Khuntia shortly.

On the toll waiver demanded by some groups in the district, he said that he would check if there was any provision for waiver for local vehicles. “The groups demanding waiver should show if there is any provision for waiver of toll in the norms,” he said.

Asked about toll not being collected for local vehicles at the toll plaza at Surathkal, Mr. Madhwaraj said that it was the “benevolence” of the toll plaza contractor, a local Bharatiya Janata Party leader, which was responsible for toll not being collected there. But he refused to divulge the name of the BJP leader.

To a question, he said that the toll plaza at NIT-K Surathkal should be closed. NHAI had said that it would close the plaza in six months. “Why should NHAI wait for six months to close the Surathkal toll plaza? When the toll plaza began functioning at Hejmady, the toll plaza at Surathkal (about 16 km from Hejmady) should have automatically closed down. Why is Dakshina Kannada MP Nalin Kumar Kateel silent on it?” Mr. Madhwaraj asked.

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