KERALA

Police order tollgate staff to wear uniforms

Staff Reporter

In the wake of complaints about their conduct

Thiruvananthapuram: Men in charge of collecting fee from motorists at the tollgate on the arterial Chakkai-Kazhakkuttom National Highway bypass have starting wearing uniforms and sporting identity cards at the insistence of the police.

The police order comes in the wake of a series of complaints, anonymous and otherwise, from the public that some of the fee collectors were behaving like thugs towards motorists.

The police have also received complaints from some local residents that the tollgate building is a haven for anti-social elements, particularly at night.

For the past few years, Perinkuzhy Joy, district committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), has the government contract for collecting toll from motorists using the Aakulam bridge. He has employed 20 persons, working in shifts, for collecting the toll.

The police have now verified their background and issued them identity cards. Two of those issued identity cards by the police are accused in a police case relating to an attack on a family at the toll gate on December 23, 2006.

The police case is that a group of fee collectors armed with iron bars and wooden sticks had beaten up a family and caused extensive damage to their car on the ground that they had attempted to avoid paying toll.

Assistant Commissioner, Shanghumughom, S. Sanal Kumar, said the fee collectors had been assigned uniforms and identity cards (with numbers written in large sizes on both sides of the card for easy identification) to prevent such incidents in the future.

He said the fee collectors had been advised to inform the police if a motorist refused or avoided payings toll. The police would not allow them to take the law into their own hands.

Also, the police would regularly inspect the tollgate building and check whether employees on duty had consumed alcohol.

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