District Admin puts four-day Hold on Toll Collection at Hejamadi and Gundmi
Udupi: The district administration has decided to put on hold for four days the toll collection at two plazas on the four-lane National Highway 66 between Surathkal to Kundapur.
The decision has been taken during the meeting held under the chairmanship of Pramod Madhwaraj district minister-in-charge at the DC office Manipal here on Saturday, February 4.
During the meeting, villagers of Surkthaka and Gundmi area submitted a memorandum to the minister. The members said that the Navayuga company as it has not completed the proposed work. There are neither proper service roads nor storm water drains. Accidents are increasing and the unscientific planning of the national highway has created chaos. He alleged that the peoples representatives are least worried over the irregularities. There are no basic infrastructural facilities.
As per the road act, before collecting the toll from the vehicles the company should construct the service roads on both sides of the toll plaza. In Sasthan and Hejamadi the company has not completed the service road. The company claims that it had already completed 90 percent of the work, but in several places like Padubidri, Kundapur, Karavali Junction, Kinnimulki Junction etc, they have not completed the required road and over-bridges. Between a distance of 60 Km, collecting the toll fee in 3 toll plazas is unconstitutional. They also demanded the NHAI authorities’ to exempt locals with KA -20 registration vehicles. The company has still not constructed a proper drainage system which will affect the public during the raining season. The Company should also build bus shelters, Underpass or Flyovers and shelter for autorickshaw stands, they said.
Vijay Samson project director for NHAI claimed that the company has completed 90 percent of the road work. As per the agreement, the construction of the service road is not applicable. The union government has already issued an order to the district administration to collect toll from February 1. We have already sent proposals for the additional work to the government which was instructed by the district administration in the last meeting. There is no word about the merger of NITK Suratkal toll plaza with that of Hejamadi as of now. The merger could take place after about six months, he said.
MLA Haladi Srinivas Shetty said it is not right to collect toll at Hejamady and Surathkal within a distance of 12 km to 13 km. The residents of Sasthana and Brahmavara would be affected with the toll collection, he added.
AC Shilpa Nag said land acquisition process for widening of the road has been completed.
Former MP K Jayaprakash Hegde said the lack of service roads are resulting in accidents. Vehicles travel on the opposite direction on the one-way road at Sasthana. This has been causing inconvenience to the vehicle users, he said.
Sasthana residents demanded exemption from toll and said that they will not pay toll at any cost.
Venkatesh deputy commissioner of the district said that the union government has already instructed the district administration to allow the company to collect the toll from February 1. The company staff has asked police protection for the toll plazas. If the district administration fails to collect the toll the state government should compensate the company. He asked the locals to co-operate with the district administration.
The locals have not agreed for the collection of toll without fulfilling their demands.
The minister finally order to the district administration and engineer for PWD and National Highway to conduct joint inspection of the NH work from Surathkal to Kundapur. Engineer for PWD and National Highway should submit the inspection report to the district administration in four days. If company and NHAI failed in completion of 90 percent of work district administration should write the letter to Union minister Nithin Gadhkari. The minister also told to give authorities’ relaxation in taking the toll fee from the locals with KA -20 registration vehicles. The minister also instructed to the police department to find out accident zones in NH 66 from surthkal to Kundapur. The meeting unanimously decided to put on hold for four days to collect toll at two plazas on the four- laned National Highway 66 between Surathkal to Kundapura.
Haladi Shrinivasa Shetty MLA Kundapur, Jayaprakash Hegde former MP Udupi-Chikmgaluru, Anuradha Additional DC, Shilpa Nag assistant commissioner Kundapur, Raghavendra Kanchan and Shilpa Suvarna ZP members, Office barriers of toll gate horata samiti Pratap Shetty, Prashanth Shetty, Alwyn Andrade, Rajesh Kaveri, Kaup Divakar Shetty and others were present.