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NPP protests outside NHAI office for ‘virtual loot’ through Toll Plazas

JAMMU: Agitated over the recent hike in toll fees charged at Toll Plazas in Jammu, a strong contingent of NPP activists led by party chairman Harsh Dev Singh staged a strong protest demonstration outside National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) office in Jammu.

Expressing fury against the BJP, NHAI and Union Ministry for Surface Transport, the angry protesters demanded immediate closure of all Toll Plazas in view of the socio-political and economic upheaval in J&K. They raised slogans ‘BJP Hai Hai', ..‘Loot Khasoot Nahin Chalegi' etc.

Speaking to the media, Harsh Dev regretted that notwithstanding Govt's earlier assurances to reduce the rates of Toll Plazas at Ban and others besides exemptions to locals, the NHAI had once again hiked the toll rates to be levied at Toll Plazas against the wishes of the people who had been protesting against the establishment of these ‘points of extortion' in the city of temples.

He further regretted that the Govt had failed to allay the apprehensions of people regarding Govt's proposal of opening additional Toll Plazas at Ring Road and Akhnoor road. Lambasting the NHAI for levying ‘Jazia' on the people, Harsh Dev said that both the present BJP Government and its nodal agency had connived together to organize loot and legalize plunder in the name of multiple Toll Plazas exclusively conceptualized for Jammu region.

"You are extorting money from the commuters in the name of toll tax. Can you explain and justify the installation of Lakhanpur Plaza? Isn't Sarore Toll Plaza just behind Ban Toll Plaza erected in violation of your own norms and guidelines? Multiple Toll Plazas have only sparked public outrage and caused unrest in the entire Jammu region. Close them or get ready to face consequences", NPP leader warned.

Expressing his serious concern over other Toll Plazas which were under pipeline, Harsh Dev Singh said that in view of the shabby road stretches, improper banking of the road curves and rising road accidents on the National Highways of Jammu province, the establishment of Toll Plazas has triggered widespread criticism over the functioning of NHAI.

Rebuking the hike in toll rates, Harsh Dev said it would not only break the back of the people with hefty taxes but affect pilgrimage tourism which had been a backbone of J&K's economy for decades. He accused the GoI of doling discrimination to Jammu region in view of the disbanding of Toll Plazas in Kashmir with only one such toll functional in the valley.



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