Daijiworld Media Network – Mangaluru (MS)
Mangaluru, February 27: According to NHAI, a toll station must be at least 60 km away from another toll station. However, the distance from the NITK toll to Suratkal is only 38 km! IRCON constructed the dual carriageway from Suratkal to Bantwal and contracted it to NHAI, which collects the toll on a contractual basis.
The Hejamady-Talapady highway was built by Navayug under a BOT (Built Operating Transfer) agreement. The distance between Suratkal and Brahmarakootlu tolls is only 30 km. The toll is collected at both places and the district administration is less concerned.
Social worker Dilraj Alva had requested information from the NHAI about the Suratkal toll. He was shocked to know that the toll list given by NHAI does not have the name Suratkal at all! This means Suratkal Toll is operating illegally. Thousands of rupees are collected here daily.
When the Hejmady toll started, the Suratkal toll was opened with a closure agreement. The decision was made to close the Suratkal toll and merge it with the Hejmady toll. The state government has also given its approval for the same. However, even after three years, toll collection continues unabated.
Protesters who want the Suratkal toll gate removed say the contractor lobby is working behind the uninterrupted toll collection.
The road that belongs to the toll must be maintained properly. Street lights, drinking water and rest areas should be provided. However, none of this is implemented.
The public has been protesting for a year for the permanent closure of the Suratkal toll. However, relevant officials and the district administration are silent. Social worker Asif also protested in a unique style for justice and was arrested. It has become a headache for the district administration.
Social worker Dilraj Alva had requested information from NHAI regarding the cost incurred on the dual carriageway from Suratkal to Bantwal and the toll that has been collected so far. But the NHAI Mangaluru division would not have given an answer.