By Janaki Ballav Dash: The collection of toll tax at three places within a distance of 125 km on the National High Way 18 has been resented and described as arbitrary by the public in the Mayurbhanj district. Commuters have also complained about the harsh conduct of the gate staffs at the toll collection gates.
While it is justified enough on part of the NHAI to collect a levy so as to take care of the NH, it is equally unfair to collect a sum of Rs. 300 and that is also at three points within a short length of 125 km on the NH.
The NHAI has set up three toll tax collection gates one at Chandikhole, another in Panikoili and the third one in Sergarh within 125 km in NH 18 and collects a huge amount of money since a number of vehicles move across these gates every minute. For every 24 hours these three toll gates collect around Rs 300/-from each vehicle.
It has also been complained that the tax collectors in these gates abuse and force commuters irrespective of the persons travelling in the vehicle.
Recently a freedom fighter coming from Nilgiri area in a private vehicle was abused by gate staffs. In another case a Mumbai based ex-defense personnel was also became prey of the harsh conduct of the gate staff. They have complained that though they exhibited their Identity Card which confers them to be within the exempted category, the staffs did not heard them and collected tax claiming that they don’t have such directive from their higher authorities. The victims claim this behavior to be “disrespectful”.
Policy on collection of user fee is based on the provisions of National Highways Act, 1956 (48 of 1956) and National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008.
Some people have argued that while many authorities, who enjoy the tax exemption benefit are enough capable to pay, is it not unfair to collect three times within a short length of 125 km and that is also in such a bad manner by the gate staff?
As per reports, a Public Interest Litigation has been filed in this nexus, but the final hearing is not yet done.