Brahmarakootlu booth attacked thrice after Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes wrote a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah.

The National Highways Authority of India’s toll booth at Brahmarakootlu, near B.C. Road, has been attacked thrice in a fortnight after the Centre sought security to all toll plazas in the State.

Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Oscar Fernandes, in a letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on March 18, asked him to ensure that all toll plazas under the NHAI in the State were provided with police security to prevent any violence and vandalism. The Secretary of the same ministry, too, had written to the government.

The letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu, spoke about media reports on January 28, on violence and vandalism, resorted to by volunteers of a political party at toll plazas in Maharashtra protesting against toll on State government roads.

“Occurrence of such incidents on NHAI toll plazas may have serious implications for ongoing development works and all future national highways development programmes and is also detrimental to the development of the State in particular and the nation in general,” Mr. Fernandes said.

The Minister asked the Chief Minister to issue instructions to the district administration and State police for making arrangements for deploying local police at all the toll plazas under the NHAI projects. The letter said: “It includes those of concessionaires (contractors) of NHAI in the State so as to avoid any unpleasant situation and the possibility of such incidents breaking out at these toll plazas.”

Earlier, Vijay Chhibber, Secretary, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, in a February 4 letter to Kaushik Mukherjee, Secretary, State government drew his attention to the manhandling and violence at toll plazas in some parts of the country. He said that there was a need to take precautionary measure to avoid any incident of vandalism at toll booths. According to complaints filed with police, the toll plaza at Brahmarakootlu on Mangalore-Bangalore national highway was attacked on April 16, April 19 and April 26 and its personnel were allegedly beaten up by groups.

S.D. Sharanappa, Superintendent of Police, Dakshina Kannada, told The Hindu that the Union minister’s letter has not been referred to the district police. After the recent incidents police security has been arranged at Brahmarakootlu on temporary basis. It would continue till the situation returns to normalcy. If the contractor wanted to have the police security on permanent basis certain payment would have to be made to the department as per the government provisions.

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