Vidarbha farmers' group supports stir against toll collecionBy Indo Asian News Service | IANS
Nagpur, June 17 (IANS) Farmers' advocacy organisation Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) Sunday lent its support to the ongoing protest against toll collection across the state led by Raj Thackeray's Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
"We fully support the stir against rampant corruption and massive exploitation at all toll collection booths throughout Maharashtra and demanded the probe into high toll rates here," said Kishor Tiwari, president of VJAS.
Quoting a study by Transport Corporation of India and IIM Calcutta, Tiwari said that slow truck speeds on highways and delays at toll plazas are costing the country about Rs.60,000 crore a year, a recent survey suggests.
"But what is more shocking is that more than Rs.60,000 crore a year are been collected by the BOT (build-operate-) operators through unjustified and unlawful levy from innocent transporters," he alleged.
Tiwari said that it is shocking that a car owner driving from Nagpur to Hyderabad on the National Highway 7 faces 12 toll booths and ends up paying Rs.750 only as toll charges.
"Last year, social activist Anna Hazare had demanded closure of all toll booths and threatened a stir. Over 27 toll booths were shut down, but they were reopened only within three months," Tiwari said.
"This clearly speaks of the unholy nexus between political parties," he added.
VJAS demanded that a committee be set up to look into the "Tollgate" and claimed that the scam will be bigger than the "Coal-gate" scam.
"If appropriate measures are not taken to bring down toll charges, VJAS will boycott toll charges at all the booths on National Highway 7," Tiwari said.