Protest against toll plaza in Belman

Residents taking out a procession against the proposed toll plaza at Belman in Udupi district on Thursday.

Residents taking out a procession against the proposed toll plaza at Belman in Udupi district on Thursday.  

A large number of people from surrounding villages turn up for the mega dharna

A Karkala-Padubidri Highway Bandh was observed to protest against the setting up of a toll plaza on State Highway No 1 here on Thursday. Business establishments downed their shutters in this region and private service buses stopped operations in support of the bandh.

A large number of people from Belman and surrounding villages turned up for a mega protest meeting called by the Toll Gate Virodhi Horata Samiti here.

Speaking on the occasion, Ishavittaladas Swami of Kemar Mutt said that it was wrong on the part of the State government to force the people of Belman and Nitte going to Mangaluru and vice-versa to pay toll at three places — Belman, Hejmady and Surathkal. The transportation costs would simply go up. The authorities were claiming that the Padubidri-Karkala stretch on State Highway 1 was a four-lane road and provided for a smooth ride. But it was also a fact that there were 37 road humps on a 27-km stretch. The State government and authorities should not impose toll on the local people, he said. Reshma Shetty, zilla panchayat member, asked what made the State government impose toll on the Padubidri-Karkala stretch, four years after work was completed. One could understand collection of toll on the National Highway. But what was the need to collect toll on a State Highway? she asked. The zilla panchayat had passed a resolution against the State government setting up a toll plaza here. “People from nearby villages keep visiting Belman frequently for daily purchases. Can they keep paying toll every time they visited Belman?” she asked.

Nandalike Suhas Hegde, president of the samiti, said that poor people would be the most affected by the toll plaza as they would have to pay toll every time they passed through it. The prices of essential commodities and other goods would go up as traders would be forced to pass the burden of toll onto customers.

Constructing a toll plaza at Belman was illegal as rules stipulated that such a plaza could be constructed only six kilometres from a village. But there was a village at a distance of almost every five kilometres on the Padubidri-Karkala stretch, he said.

The protestors took out a procession on State Highway 1 and squatted on the road for some time. Additional Deputy Commissioner Vidya Kumari, who arrived on the spot, said that she would forward the memorandum of the protestors to the State government.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 7:50:37 PM |

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