Police stop toll collection at Kollam bypass as company has no govt permission
Kollam: The police force stopped toll collection at Kollam bypass on Friday morning. They made it clear that toll cannot be collected without permission from the district administration. The contract company authorities had already informed that the toll plaza in Kureepuzha would start functioning from Friday at 8 am.
Youth outfits had organised protests from 8 in the morning against toll collection. But the police reached the place to maintain law and order and told the company to stop toll collection. However, when the company authorities refused to stop, the police forcefully closed the toll booths and sent them back.
The Centre’s order granting permission for toll collection was issued in January and had notified that toll collection will commence from January 16. This move was postponed due to protest from locals and the district administration had warned on probable law and order issues. But the National Highway project director started toll collection by sending a message to the collector.
It is learnt that the district administration informed the company that toll plaza can be opened only after getting permission from the state government. The National Highway Authority took the stand that they need no permission from the state.
The bypass construction will be complete only after the six-lane highway is completed. There was a general opinion that collecting toll before completing construction cannot be justified. Basic facilities have been arranged at Kureepuzha toll plaza to start toll collection.
According to the Centre’s policy, toll is imposed at places where the expense of construction exceeds Rs 100 crore. The making cost of Kollam bypass is about Rs 352 crore. The Centre had made a contract with the state for collecting toll to recover this amount.
PWD minister G Sudhakaran demanded that the toll collection at the bypass should be avoided. The minister had given a letter to the National Highway Authority requesting to avoid toll collection until the six-lane highway is completed.