Contractor threatens to block Tamil Nadu State buses

A disagreement is simmering between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the payment of toll for buses of Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Madurai) Ltd. passing through the Amaravila bridge near the inter-State border.

The contractor authorised by the Public Works Department (PWD) to collect the toll from the bridge across the Neyyar river at Amaravila has said that the State-owned buses of Tamil Nadu will be blocked from August 10 if they do not pay the toll.

If the contractor, B. Anil Kumar, goes ahead with the decision and blocks the Tamil Nadu State corporation buses, it will lead to a law and order situation on the National Highway and disrupt the plans of hundreds of people who cross the border each day.

As many as 481 trips are operated on a daily basis by these buses.

The issue will also affect inter-State bus services and relations between the two States.

As per a government notification, only vehicles belonging to the Kerala government, Union government, and Kerala State Road Transport Corporation are exempted from paying the toll.

Exemption list

Mr. Anil Kumar, who has taken the contract by quoting Rs.20 lakh more than what it was last year, has pointed out that eight classes of vehicles had been exempted, and the buses of Tamil Nadu did not figure on the list when the tenders were issued.

Tamil Nadu buses do not pay the toll at Amaravila on the ground that inter-State buses are operated as per an agreement between the two States.

‘Toll in Tamil Nadu’

Mr. Anil Kumar said buses of the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation were not spared from toll in Tamil Nadu and fee was collected for even entering bus stations.

The PWD rejected a request by Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Madurai) Ltd. for exempting its buses from the toll stating that it would be a violation of the agreement with the contractor.

The Neyyattinkara sub-judge has ruled that the Tamil Nadu buses will have to pay the toll. The High Court has even issued orders to provide police protection for the collection of the toll.

The contractor has petitioned the authorities saying the non-payment of the toll by the Tamil Nadu buses was resulting in a loss of Rs.5,000 daily and Rs.1.5 lakh a month.

Mr. Anil Kumar has said lack of clarity in the agreement about three axle-commercial vehicles, multi-axle vehicles, and SUV cabs was leading to confusion on toll collection on the bridge.