Residents want three more toll plazas to be scrapped

An agonising wait: Removing the Vanagaram toll plaza has been a long-pending demand of the residents’ welfare associations.   | Photo Credit: M. Vedhan

With the removal of toll plazas on Rajiv Gandhi Salai, the clamour for doing away with the ones at Vanagaram, Puzhal and Mathur in Manali has increased. Residents in these areas hope the government will take steps to meet their long-pending demand.

M. Manaligam, a social activist of Manali, said the Mathur toll plaza was within the Greater Chennai Corporation limits and was a fit case for removal. “We have been protesting against its construction since 2017.”

“It is on Jawaharlal Nehru Salai, which is the city’s Inner Ring Road. The plaza came up here with the purpose of collecting toll from container-carrying trailers proceeding to the ports. However, locals are forced to pay toll since passes were not given to them,” he said and added that the line of containers caused congestion in the locality. If the government wanted to collect toll from containers, it could do so at the entrance to ports, not here, Mr. Mahalingam said.

S. Jude Mathew of Puzhal said residents of his area had to pass through the toll plaza at Surapet, Puzhal. “If we are to go to nearby Sholavaram, we have to pass through the Red Hills plaza. The distance between Manali and Puzhal is not much. Within a 50 km radius, there are three toll plazas and all the three must be removed. The road is poorly maintained. The employees at the plazas behave in a rash manner. If we cross the plaza before the FasTag scans vehicle details, they hit the rear view mirror,” he said.

Asi Thirumaladimai, general secretary, Federation of Maduravoyal Residents Welfare Associations, said they had been protesting for the removal of the Vanagaram toll plaza for a long time. “What else should we do to get it removed is a question that we have been been raising. I have travelled to Malaysia and Singapore where there are truly world-class roads. But not seen such congestion at plazas. We don’t get the required service for the amount collected. If we travel by road to Kanniyakumari, we end up spending four times the train fare on toll and on fuel. But it takes longer to travel by road than by train,” he said.

Common problems

The poor condition of roads leading to the three plazas, lack of local resident passes, rude behaviour of the staff and snarls are issues faced by residents. This is a problem common to many of the 48 plazas in the State.

Highways Minister E.V. Velu recently announced that he would take steps to reduce the number of toll plazas. He said the State government would write to the Centre. Residents expect him to keep his word.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 2:45:36 PM |

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