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Toll row: air travellers starved of taxis

Special Correspondent
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Tension on airport road as protests continue for second day

Police pacifying drivers and passengers at the toll plaza on National Highway 7, leading to Kempegowda International Airport, in Bangalore on Monday.
Police pacifying drivers and passengers at the toll plaza on National Highway 7, leading to Kempegowda International Airport, in Bangalore on Monday.

Tension prevailed at the toll plaza on National Highway 7, leading to Kempegowda International Airport, as protests continued for the second day against the steep hike in toll. Several travellers had problems getting taxis.

Traffic jams became a norm as drivers and passengers argued with officials of Navayuga Devanahalli Tollway Pvt. Ltd.

As tempers flared, some vehicles were allowed to go without paying toll at regular intervals in a bid to reduce the jam.

Police had to intervene several times to pacify angry drivers and passengers.

Navayuga has increased the toll by nearly four times for the 22-km stretch of the elevated road. The toll for a return journey by car or other such vehicle has gone up from Rs. 30 to Rs. 115.

Dearth of taxis

R. Manjunath, general secretary of Bangalore District Taxi Drivers’ Union, said: “Besides about 3,000 taxis that ply exclusively to the airport, another 1,500 taxis use this route every day.

On Monday, taxi drivers refused to pay the revised toll rate. Many others avoided the route altogether, resulting in a shortage of taxis at the airport for some time.”

Meanwhile, G.R. Shanmugappa, president of the Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owners’ and Agents’ Association, said that about 45,000 vehicles ply on this road every day and termed the hike “daylight robbery”. “We will announce on May 9 our decision on whether to take vehicles off the road indefinitely or for a day,” he said.

He said they expected to meet Union Surface Transport Minister Oscar Fernandes on Tuesday.

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