BANGALORE: It is official now. All vehicles travelling from the Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) towards the city will have to pay toll at the Sadarahalli Gate on NH7 from midnight today. Following the approval by the State government to collect the toll, each vehicle will have to pay `25 while leaving the airport.
Various transport associations have threatened to go on protest till the government withdraws the order. The government faces protests from the KSTDC Taxi and Lorry Owners’ Association and five other taxi, maxicabs and lorry associations which are not backing off from their stance.
While they claim that they would be willing to pay the toll only after an alternative service road is provided, the government’s approval for collection of toll is being presented as a response to this opposition by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Meanwhile,, Bangaloreans who wish to travel to and fro the BIAL are worried about the inconvenience that would be caused to them because of this protest.
“The government has given its consent to resume toll collection. Ahead of this approval, we will start collecting tolls now,” said A K Mathur, Chief General Manager (Technical), RO, Bangalore, National Highway Authority of India. However, starting this afternoon, the KSTDC along with Bangalore Taxi Owners’ Association, Karnataka Tourist Motor Cabs and Maxicab Association, Karnataka Tourist Forum and other private cab companies will be creating public awareness about this toll that is to be collected.
“We have not objected to the toll that is being collected at Electronic City and Nelamangala because there is an alternative service road that people can take without paying the toll. In this case, there is no service road. Each vehicle coming from the BIA will have to pay `25. We had a meeting with BIAL and they have pointed out to us that the official notice has been issued and we will have to follow this. We do not mind paying the toll when it is justified. This is merely a money making agenda and we oppose this,” said Neelakantha, Secretary, KSTDC.
Every day, these associations make over 45,000 trips to and fro the international airport.
“We already pay `60 as parking charges per cab, now with this toll of `25, we will end up paying `85 for every single trip we make. Totally put together there are around 78,000 vehicles operational from all associations. We will go on protest the moment this toll is imposed,” said Radhakrishna Holla, Secretary of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners’ Association.
Further, the associations fear that in April, the toll will be revised and doubled.