Raha toll gate starts amidst wide protests

A Correspondent

NAGAON, July 12: Amidst uproar and protest by various organizations of the district as well as the State against Raha Toll Plaza on NH-37 road near Saragaon, the State government and Highways Authority of India on Thursday started the Raha Toll Gate (Plaza) by imposing high rate of toll fees for various vehicles.

As per new notification issued by GM (T)/PD, NHAI, PIU, Nagaon, a private four-wheeler has to pay Rs 100 for a single journey and if it returns within 24 hours, it has to pay altogether Rs 150. Similarly, a medium range commercial couch like mini truck or bus has to pay Rs 160 to Rs 240 and a super bus or truck with variety of axles has to pay Rs 335 to Rs 955.
This has drawn sharp reaction from all sections of the people of the district as well as the State. Interestingly, the notification exempted two-wheelers and three-wheelers from the high rate toll fees. Organizations like All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), Tiwa Chatra Sangstha, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Krishak Sramik Unnayan Parishad (KSUP), Praktan ULFA Aikya Moncha and some other local organizations have been staging protests against the toll gate since a couple of weeks and also held discussions with Deputy Commissioner of Nagaon, Biswajit Pegu.

All the organizations appealed to the government to first complete the four-lane project soon as 40 per cent of the road is yet to be completed by the construction company and the drainage system is still to be constructed.
On the other hand, on Thursday noon, soon after installation of Raha Toll Gate, hundreds of workers as well as the supporters of KMSS and Krishak Sramik Unnayan Parishad rushed to the toll gate and staged protest against the NHAI and State Government. The agitators shouted various anti-government slogans and demanded to stop the toll gate immediately as it would influence the prices of essential commodities in the market and push poor farmers and labourers towards doom. The protesters were picked up by the police and brought to Raha police station.