CHENNAI: Anguished over poor maintenance of the Chennai-Tada stretch of the National Highway-5 connecting Chennai to Kolkata and the fleecing of motorists by collecting road toll, truck operators here have threatened to picket the toll plaza on September 1 at Padianallur to urge the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to expedite completion of the six-laning project, which was left abandoned halfway.
“The project for six-laning of Chennai-Tada stretch was given up halfway by Larsen and Toubro. The road is in poor condition without proper maintenance. Yet, the truck and other vehicle operators are fleeced by at the toll plaza”, rued R Sugumar, president, Tamil Nadu Lorry Owners Federation (TNLOF).
The L&T launched works in 2009 and was to complete the `419-crore project in 2011, but failed to meet the deadline. Later, the firm opted out citing bottlenecks in land acquisition leaving the road in shambles.
Sugumar noted that the NHAI entrusted toll collection at the Padianallur plaza to a private firm which collects about `18 lakh per day, but failed to carry out maintenance of the road and other infrastructure facilities at the plaza.
“It is worrying to note that we are fleeced at the toll plaza in spite of the poor condition of the road which offers key link to cargo vehicles heading to Kolkata”, he said.
About 10, 000 goods carriers are passing through the stretch to various states, including Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal. The TNLOF would hold a stir at the toll plaza on September 1 to press the NHAI to speed up the process for completing the 43.4-km-long Chennai-Tada stretch without further delay, Sugumar announced.