Madurai

NHAI slaps legal notice seeking Rs. 28.62 crore from TNSTC

Former Minister R.B. Udhayakumar and AIADMK members stage a protest at Tirumangalam in Madurai district on Monday.

Former Minister R.B. Udhayakumar and AIADMK members stage a protest at Tirumangalam in Madurai district on Monday. | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

Former Minister blames State Govt., seeks removal of Kappalur toll plaza

Madurai Former Minister and Tirumangalam MLA R.B. Udhayakumar was arrested when he attempted to take a signature campaign and hunger strike at Kappalur seeking to remove the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) toll plaza at Kappalur on Madurai-Virudhunagar highway, on Monday.

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA wanted the State Government to ensure that Kappalur toll plaza should be included in the list of toll plazas in the State that needed to be removed for violating minimum distance norms between two toll plazas.

"Kappalur is the gateway to southern districts and the location of the toll plaza brings more and more problems every day. When AIADMK was in power, we made an arrangement wherein the NHAI issued identity cards for local vehicles of Tirumangalam," Mr. Udhayakumar said.

Using the identity card, the farmers, industrial units and cab operators were allowed unlimited number of passengers without any toll charge.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had promised in the election manifesto that efforts would be taken to remove the toll plaza.

However, things have become worse now, the AIADMK district secretary said.

He said that NHAI had issued a legal notice to over 200 vehicles seeking a due of Rs. around Rs. one lakh as toll charges for having used the toll road for their vehicles between November 2020 and March 2022.

"Even Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, Madurai, has been slapped with the legal notice seeking Rs. 28.62 crore failing which, NHAI has threatened that the vehicles would not be allowed to use its highway," Mr. Udhayakumar said.

Besides, NHAI has threatened that civil and criminal cases would be initiated against the vehicles.

President of Kappalur Industrialists Association P.N. Raghunatha Raja said that the local arrangement that was made by the district administration had not been respected by NHAI.

"The Collector had rejected NHAI's claim that a parallel toll-free road was available for the people of Tirumangalam to reach Kappalur. The road NHAI was pointing out would take 20 km to reach the other side, while through the toll road it is only 500 metres," he said.

Besides, NHAI has closed the service road on Madurai. The association has been asked to pay Rs. 96 lakh for having used 140 vehicles in the said period.

"The very fact that vehicles have been frequenting through the toll plaza, as per NHAI records, show that the industrial units cannot avoid the road for their daily industrial activity. NHAI is trying to create unrest among the people of the region, he said.


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Printable version | Jul 4, 2022 9:12:45 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/madurai/article65599929.ece