Contractor at Brahmarakootlu says will go for revised rates once poll code ends

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) workers — led by the party’s Dakshina Kannada parliamentary constituency candidate M.R. Vasudeva — has staged a protest and forced the toll collector at Brahmarakootlu on the Mangalore-Bangalore national highway to revert to the old rates till May 18, when the model code of conduct will cease to exist.

The party had earlier protested against the revised toll rates that came into effect on April 1 at Brahmarakootlu saying it violated poll code.

The National Highways Authority of India had notified increased of toll charges for cars and jeeps from Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 and for light commercial vehicles from Rs. 30 to Rs. 35.

Following the first protest, Deputy Commissioner A.B. Ibrahim on April 1 ordered the NHAI’s Project Director not to implement the revise rates at Brahmarakootlu. Mr. Ibrahim had said the notification appeared to be a violation of model code of conduct. He also asked the NHAI to submit necessary documents to inquire where there was model code of conduct violations. The NHAI authorities said they will continue to collect charges as per the revised rate as there was no violation of model code of conduct as rates were revised on April 1 every year.

The AAP’s Mr. Vasudeva insisted that the NHAI collect toll as per the old rates. AAP activists approached each vehicle at the toll gate on Friday and asked drivers to pay as per the old rates.

Meanwhile, Gopalakrishna Melanta, the contractor appointed to collect the toll, called NHAI Project Director, and then said he would collect toll as per the old rates till May 18. “We will go for the new rates once the model code of conduct comes to an end,” he said.

Mr. Vasudeva told reporters that the AAP would move the High Court against the provision enabling annual increase in toll charges. “My fight is limited to this toll gate. I cannot question charges at the other toll gates in the State that has also been revised on April 1,” he said.

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