Consider granting temporary toll exemption to transport farm produce: Karnataka HC to Centre

BANGALORE, 11/12/2007: A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore.
Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy 11-12-2007

BANGALORE, 11/12/2007: A view of Karnataka High Court in Bangalore. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy 11-12-2007

The High Court of Karnataka has directed the Union government to consider whether an exemption from payment of toll for a limited period can be granted to farmers on national highways for transporting farm produce considering the exigencies arisen due to COVID-19.

This will enable the farmers to transport their produce without payment of toll fee as, in the present day situation, it is impossible for them to pay toll fee at various NH points, the Court observed.

A special Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice B.V.Nagarathna, issued the direction while hearing PIL petitions related to issues arisen due to lockdown.

The Bench told the Centre to place before the Court the decision to be taken in this regard by the next date of hearing.

Earlier, it was pointed out to the Court that when farmers are finding it very difficult to get a goods vehicle for transporting the produce, the toll has become an additional burden as farmers are forced to sell the produce at low rates and that they are not in a position to recover even the cost of operations.

Noticing that the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008 granting exemptions from payment of toll does not cover farmers when they carry produce by a goods vehicle, the Bench found it necessary for the Centre to consider the issue of granting exemption from toll payment for a limited period for the farmers.

Meanwhile, the Bench directed the State government to ensure that at district and taluk levels, regular meetings are convened by the Deputy Commissioners/Officers of the Agriculture, Horticulture and Sericulture Departments for hearing the grievances of the farmers in the area. The Bench said that the meetings, to which representatives of various farmers’ organisations can also be invited, should be convened immediately to solve the issues faced by the farmers. The Bench issued this direction after Counsel for the Karnataka State Legal Service Services (KSLSA) pointed out that farmers are finding it difficult to sell their produce as they are unable to transport from one district another due various issues including toll and non-availability of transport facility.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 4:43:15 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/consider-granting-temporary-toll-exemption-to-transport-farm-produce-karnataka-hc-to-centre/article31529548.ece