THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The toll collection at the Thiruvallam plaza on the NH66 bypass will resume on Saturday after days of protests by political parties and local residents finally drew to a close. People living within 11-kilometre radius of the toll plaza have been excluded from paying the toll. To be specific, those staying within 10-kilometre radius of the plaza towards the Kovalam side and 1km radius towards Kumarichantha will be issued passes using which they can travel without paying the fee.
The 40-day stalemate ended following mediation talks led by Education Minister V Sivankutty, who is also the Nemom MLA. He held talks with the NHAI, toll collection agency, the protesting parties and local representatives.
Residents living in the 11-km radius from Kumarichantha to Kovalam can take their vehicles, including car, through the toll plaza without paying the toll, Sivankutty said in a statement. Passes will be distributed from Friday and residents can use proof of residence for a week to travel, after which they need to show the passes. This was agreed upon by the toll collecting agency at the meeting.
Meanwhile, the NHAI has agreed to a slew of demands by the protestors and this has ended the days of protest by political parties. It has decided to prepare a DPR for a new bridge at Thiruvallam junction and after the approval from the headquarters, the tenders will be called in two months’ time, an NHAI official has said.
“We’ve agreed to the few demands made. At the toll plaza, a drainage system will be set up. We will study the feasibility of the demand for setting up a service road at Porode beneath the bridge and devise a strategy to execute it,” said an NHAI official.
Kovalam MLA, M Vincent, has said protest has been called off after the authorities agreed to the demands. “Earlier, they said only those residents living within a 1.5 km radius would be allowed to pass free of cost. The demand for a service road connection at Porode and a drain to prevent waterlogging at the toll plaza were some of the demands which have been given assent. With the demands being met, we decided to end the stir,” Vincent said.