Charging that the national highways for which toll was collected were not being maintained properly and some toll plazas do not comply with the minimum 60-km gap norm, ousted AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam on Sunday urged the Central government to cancel the proposed hike in toll rates expected to be implemented from April 1.
In a statement, he also urged the Central government to reduce the number of toll plazas in Tamil Nadu and further urged the Tamil Nadu government to exert pressure on the Centre in this regard. He claimed Tamil Nadu had the most number of toll plazas in the country.
“While toll is being collected, maintenance of these roads are not being undertaken. When they are not being maintained properly, it is unfair to collect toll,” Mr. Panneerselvam said and pointed out despite the Central government norm that the distance between two of toll gates needed to be 60 km, the norm has not been implemented yet.
Toll was collected in over 600 toll plazas across the country and toll rates are to be revised every year with effect from April 1, Mr. Panneerselvam said and cited media reports, according to which toll rates are expected to be increased up to 10% from next month.
“The increasing of toll rates meant additional financial burden on the people. It would lead to hike in freight rates of all goods, including essential commodities. The hike in toll rates would have a chain reaction. People expect that the proposed hike in toll rates be withdrawn,” he said in a statement.
As the Central and State governments went about increasing the prices resulting in inflation putting people in more hardships, he said “The proposed hike in toll rates from April 1 was like adding fuel to the fire.”