Toll collection stopped at Sadahalli Gate, but only briefly

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Police ensured traffic movement was not disrupted on third day of protests

Toll collection at Sadahalli Gate on National Highway 7 was disrupted briefly on Tuesday, as activists of BJP and Karnataka Rakshana Vedike staged protests at the toll plaza against the nearly four-fold hike in rates.

However, police ensured two-way traffic flow through two gates on the left. Police were deployed in huge numbers on the third consecutive day of protests.

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Former Deputy Chief Minister R. Ashok, who led the BJP activists, alleged that the State government had colluded with the private company authorised to collect toll. He further alleged that the company was scuttling free passage of local villagers and demanded a toll-free service road.

He claimed to have stopped the company from collecting toll when he was in the government on the grounds that the project was yet to be completed.

Narayana Gowda, vedike president, told the State government to roll back the hike in 24 hours. He warned that the vedike would pull down all toll booths, like in neighbouring Maharashtra, if there is no roll back.

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About 400 protesters, including R. Ashok, B.N. Bachegowda from the BJP and T.A. Narayana Gowda from the vedike, were arrested and later released.

Less than half an hour after the protesters were cleared, the toll collection resumed, leaving the road users and cab drivers sceptical of the effectiveness of the protests.

Arvind Kumar, a commuter who had been to the airport, said, “The protests are an act for the media. In a few days, people will soon get used to the new rates.”

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