The Toll Gate Virodhi Horata Samithi, Surathkal, on Tuesday issued a threat saying that its activists will physically remove the Surathkal Toll Gate on the National Highway 66 on October 18, if the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) did not do it by then.
The samithi activists, who staged a dharna in Surathkal on Tuesday demanding that the NHAI announce a specific date for closing down the toll gate, said that the samithi will wait till October 17 for the NHAI to fulfil their demand.
However, H.S. Linge Gowda, Project Director, NHAI, Mangaluru Office, who arrived at the spot, told the activists that orders for the merger of Surathkal Toll Gate with that of Hejmady Toll Gate on the highway will be issued in a month. But, the official said, he cannot announce a specific date as it is beyond his scope of work.
The official said that paper work related to the merger of the toll booth is on.
“It will take a maximum of one month to close down the toll booth,” the official said.
He said that a proposal will be sent to the NHAI in Bengaluru and Delhi requesting it not to burden the local motorists with an increase in user fee at Hejmady Toll Plaza after the merger. Some modifications have been made in the design of the new bridge being built across the Phalguni at Kuloor. Work on the bridge will be completed at the earliest.
Acknowledging the answer by the NHAI official, samithi convener Muneer Katipalla said that activists will volunteer arrest on October 18 by removing the toll gate.
Representatives from different organisations took part in the dharna staged near the Surathkal Toll Gate.
Mr. Katipalla said that the NHAI has been dilly-dallying on closing down the toll booth opened in Surathkal in 2015. In the last seven years, many assurances have been given on winding up the toll booth. “We are fed up with such assurances and the agitation will be taken to its logical end,” he said.
Congress leader Mithun Rai said that party workers will join other members of the samithi to remove the toll booth on October 18.
The former Mangaluru City North MLA B.A. Mohiuddin Bava, the former Moodbidri MLA K. Abhayachandra Jain, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president P.V. Mohan, activist M.G. Hegde and Dalit Sangharsh Samiti leader M. Devadas also spoke.