KOCHI: The residents of Mulavukadu, Cheranalloor and Kadamakudy islands will be exempted from paying toll at the Ponnarimangalam toll plaza on the Container Terminal Road. The decision was taken at a meeting convened by District Collector S Suhas as instructed by Hibi Eden, MP, following wide protests against the decision to collect toll from local residents after FASTag was made mandatory.“These people have surrendered their land and means of livelihood to make the Container Terminal Road project a reality,” said Hibi.
“Considering that, residents of the three panchayats were exempted from toll payment. But after FASTag was made mandatory by February second week, all of them were forced to pay at the toll booth. This led to widespread protests and people’s representatives organised strong agitations.”
The MP said exemption has also been requested for the residents of Eloor Municipality, the procedure for which is progressing. “The provision for free FASTags will be extended to the residents of Eloor Municipality too. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials said that the linking of FASTag and other procedures to give exemption will have to be done in Delhi. That will take some time. Till then, the local residents will be exempted from paying toll,” Hibi said.
He said the respective local bodies have to prepare a list of people owning vehicles. “They will have to buy a FASTag for the basic price. Once the details are submitted to NHAI, the local residents won’t have to pay the amount from their FASTag wallet. Till then, the toll exemption will continue,” the MP said.
The fee for a single trip for cars and light motor vehicles (LMV) at Ponnarimangalam plaza is Rs 45. For return journeys, the charge is Rs 70. For light commercial vehicles (LCV), Rs 75 will be charged for a single journey and Rs 155 for a double journey.
NHAI initiated steps to open the toll plaza in 2015. However, following stiff opposition from the people, the move was scrapped. While toll collection was started there in 2019, local residents were exempted.
MLAs S Sarma, T J Vinodh, Eloor Municipal chairman A D Sujil, Cheranalloor panchayat president K G Rajesh and Kadamakudy panchayat president Mary Vincent were among those who attended the meeting.