CHENNAI: An argument over payment between a government bus crew and Paranur toll plaza staff around 1 am on Sunday snowballed into a violent clash, with passengers, motorists and the toll plaza staff joining the melee.
The mob vandalised the toll counters, broke CCTV cameras and damaged the plaza staff’s vehicles. Bus drivers parked their vehicles blocking all toll lanes on the Chennai-Tiruchy highway in Chengalpattu.
It all started when a State Express Transport Corporation (SETC) bus, plying from Chennai to Tiruchy, reached the Paranur toll plaza around 1 am. The staff there asked the bus driver to pay toll charges. "Government buses usually do not pay toll. This ‘unusual’ demand sparked off the row," a police officer said.
"Bus conductor Pasumpon got down and went towards Muthu, a staff member at the plaza, to ask why he needed to pay the toll and an argument ensued. It is alleged that the plaza staff attacked the bus driver and conductor first. Seeing them under attack, the passengers in the bus too got down in support of the bus crew," he added.
Other bus drivers who reached the spot joined the fracas and blocked all the lanes by parking their buses along the toll plaza. They vandalised the toll plaza and, damaged boom barriers and vehicles of the plaza staff.
"Nearly 100 police personnel were rushed to the spot to control the mob fury. No one sustained serious injuries in the incident," the police added. Traffic in the area got affected for over three hours and police registered a case following the incident.