In what could be termed as high decibel drama, the operator of the toll plaza at Mannuthy - Edapally National Highway 47 who implemented the revised rates along the stretch on Tuesday midnight announced a roll back in the morning in the face of the strong opposition from various youth organisations.
The entire drama started unfolding at midnight with the Guruvayur Infrastructure Private Ltd
(GIPL), a joint venture company responsible for toll collection and road maintenance on the Mannuthi-Edapally stretch of the National Highway, began charging the revised rates from motorists.
As a result, the rates had gone up by `5 - `30 per vehicle. As the news of implementation of revised toll rates spread, the youth organisations including Youth Congress, Democratic Youth Federation of India, Yuva Morcha and BJP rushed to the toll plaza. Among the youth organisations, Youth congress activists laid siege to the toll plaza from midnight disrupting the toll collection proceedings.
In the morning, PC Chacko MP and local MLA P A Madhavan visited the toll plaza and urged the operator to desist from the move in view of the pending works in the stretch. Later, the company officials came up with a statement that they have stopped collecting the revised toll rates on the stretch of the national highway for the time being.
The officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said the company could implement the revised rates on the stretch from September 1.
However, they have not implemented it owing to various reasons including the request from the state administration. But it doesn’t mean that the company required prior permission of the state government to implement it, they said.
The Left Democratic Front and the BJP leaders including V S Sunilkumar MLA flayed incident alleging that it was plot hatched by Congress leaders and toll operator ahead of the parliament election so as to win the hearts of the people in the area.
Recently, a high level meeting attended by Union Minister Oscar Fernandes in New Delhi had decided to put on hold the NHAI decision to hike toll rate on the Mannuthy - Edappally stretch of the National Highway 47 from September 1.