Lorry owners association decry heavy tolls at TN's Pudurpandiapuram, seek action

Following assurances from the toll plaza manager, the agitation was withdrawn. The agitation caused traffic snarls at the plaza.
The protesters blocked the roads on Sunday, condemning the private toll lessee for illegally overcharging lorries on return journeys.
The protesters blocked the roads on Sunday, condemning the private toll lessee for illegally overcharging lorries on return journeys. Express photo

THOOTHUKUDI: Members of the Thoothukudi Lorry Owners Association and Lorry Booking Agents Association besieged the toll plaza at Pudurpandiapuram, on the Thoothukudi-Madurai national highway, complaining about the double entry of toll charges and poor facilities for drivers at the toll plaza.

The protesters blocked the roads on Sunday, condemning the private toll lessee for illegally overcharging lorries on return journeys. "The Pudurpandiapuram toll gate staff collects actual charges, even for return journeys on the same day. This situation was taken to the notice of the officials concerned a month ago; yet, no action has been taken,” said Subburaj, the president of the Lorry Booking Agents Association.

The toll plaza authorities must collect the actual toll fees on the first passing and half the charge during the return journey, he added.
Moreover, the highways authorities and the toll leasee had not provided drinking water facilities and other basic needs for the drivers and passengers, the protesters stated.

It may be noted that Thoothukudi Corporation Mayor N Jegan Periyasamy joined the protest against the toll plaza on behalf of the lorry owners association. Jegan has been the president of the Thoothukudi Lorry Owners Association for long, much before he became the mayor. 

He condemned the toll operators for causing unnecessary delay, alleging that only two of eight toll counters are active during peak hours. “Even ambulances have a hard time crossing the toll plaza,” he said and demanded the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the toll plaza lessee to address the issues.

Meanwhile, members of the Lorry Owners Association also urged the NHAI to shift the toll gate to a distance of 15 km from the Thoothukudi corporation limits.

"The Pudurpandiyapuram toll plaza is located just 2 km away from the Thoothukudi corporation boundary, while the norms state that toll plazas must be located 15 km away from the boundary of an urban body. The Pudurpandiyapuram toll plaza is supposed to be located at Kurukkusalai on the Thoothukudi-Madurai NH," said Subbaraj.

Urging the authorities to address the issues before June 7, Subbaraj warned that a massive agitation will be organised if the issues are not resolved.

Following assurances from the toll plaza manager, the agitation was withdrawn. The agitation caused traffic snarls at the plaza. 

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