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Protests on Bengaluru-Mysore Toll As Levy Being Charged 'Without Facilities'

The Bengaluru-Mysore expressway was inaugurated by PM Narendra Modi on 12 March.

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Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway, several groups staged a protest at a toll plaza along the route on Tuesday, 14 March, opposing the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)'s move to levy charges without building the required infrastructure.

A number of outfits have alleged that there are no proper service roads or passes for local residents.

The Opposition Congress has also joined the demonstrations.

Protesters say that they are not willing to pay toll fees until the completion of the entire project. Apart from the service roads not being built, they claim that the toll rate is too high.

While some protesters raised slogans demanding justice, in the presence of the police, others have threatened to destroy the toll plaza altogether. A number of them have also been detained.
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The toll was inaugurated three days ago by PM Modi. Amid the protests, a few technical glitches also led to the congestion of vehicles, thus adding to the woes of the authorities and giving more fodder to the protesters.

Several taxi drivers who commute almost everyday on the stretch also hit out at the NHAI for alleged mismanagement as well as charging an exorbitant toll fees for short distances and with the absence of proper service roads.

"I'm going for 20 kilometres on this stretch, for which I have to pay Rs 147, where should we go? If there was a proper service road, I wouldn't have come here, how should I go?" a taxi driver was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress chief DK Shivakumar said that the road was inaugurated without proper facilities for the "sake of politics" as elections are due in the state this year.

"It was done for the sake of politics ahead of elections and not for the sake of people," he said.

(With inputs from PTI.)

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