Locals demand rollback of decision
Srinagar, July 19: After six months of abolishing excise toll plaza from Jammu and Kashmir’s entry gate Lakhanpur in Kathua district, National Highway Authority of India plans to collect highway tax from commuters on the road.
As per officials in Highway Authority, Lakhanpur Toll Plaza already auctioned to a Delhi based company and will start collecting toll tax from July 21, 2020.
The district administration and highway authority preparing to commence the toll collection from coming Tuesday but people of Jammu, particularly of Kathua district staged a massive protest over operationalisation of a new toll plaza at Lakhanpur on Jammu Pathankot stretch or road.
A large group of youth led by Congress leader Kashboo Bhagat stage a sit-in, installed barricades and raised anti government slogans.
Speaking to KINS Bhagat said that the time is not appropriate to tax people , which are already suffering from Corona pandemic.
“The financial health of people are not good, many youth lost their jobs during this Corona crisis, private sectors jobs already collapsed, no economic activities in the market. Instead of mitigating the problems of people, the government imposing more taxes,” she said, adding, “we demand revocation or this toll plaza and special concession for people of Jammu in already established toll plazas”.
Gourav Sharma another protester said that Jammu has become land of Toll Plaza.
“All five districts of Jammu through which Jammu Srinagar Highway passes have toll Plazas. The new toll will adversely affect the Vaishno Devi pilgrims, who now have to pay road tax at three Toll Plazas to reach destination,” he added.
Sharma said that government should not force people to come on roads and relook on the decision.
Earlier in October 2019 NHAI started toll plaza at Sarore along Jammu-Pathankot highway, which had witnessed server protest in Jammu. After facing back-ash state BJP demanded immediate abolishment of toll plaza in view of the security and political turbulence in the state.
Jammu and Kashmir BJP president Ravinder Raina wrote two page latter letter addressed to the Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, highlighted the resentment among the people over the “ill thoughtout” decision of local officers of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) but the reply of the letter never came.(KINS)