The farmers’ organisations in Haryana have decided to force open the the toll plazas in the state for an indefinite period to ensure free commute for all passing through. The decision has been taken to further escalate the protests against the three farm laws.
Earlier, the farmer union leaders had said that the toll plazas will remain open for three days from December 25 to 27. But in a late night meeting on Saturday, farmer leaders said that they will not allow the toll companies to charge from commuters until the Union government accepts their demands.
“We have met several farmers and representatives of farmer unions and it was decided that the toll plazas to will not be allowed to charge from commuters indefinitely”, Bhartiya Kisan Union state president Gurnam Singh Charuni said.
He said that the farmers will continue their protests at all toll plazas in the state until the farmers’ protests at Delhi borders are not ended.
On the morning of December 25, the protesting farmers gathered at the toll plazas, forcing employees collecting toll to leave. They removed barricades from the toll gates allowing free movement of motorists.
Even women and children joined the protests at Kitlana toll plaza in Dadri, while farmers parked their tractor-trolleys on the roadside and sat on a dharna near Makrauli toll plaza on the Rohtak-Chandigarh highway and at Madina toll plaza on the Rohtak-Hisar highway.
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The farmers also took over Bastara toll plaza in Karnal on NH- 44, which connects Delhi with several northern states. They also took control of the Gullarpur toll plaza on Assandh-Karnal highway, the Thana toll plaza in Pehowa of Kurukshetra on Hisar-Chandigarh highway, Panipat toll plaza on NH-44 and Dahar toll plaza on Panipat-Rohtak highway.
Meanwhile farmers from Haryana and Punjab continued their sit-in at the Shambhu toll plaza near Ambala on the Delhi-Amritsar NH-44 for the second day.
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The concessionaire of Bastara toll plaza on National Highway 44, near Karnal, is likely to suffer a loss of around Rs 1.20 crore per day due to the toll-free movement of vehicles forced on the toll plaza.
The toll plaza officials said that per day collection at Bastara is around Rs 1.20 crore to Rs 1.30 crore as 40,000 to 50,000 vehicles cross the toll plaza every day.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said that the losses suffered by the toll companies will ultimately be borne by the public since the concessionaires’ contracts will get extended to cover for the days they could not charge toll as is categorically mentioned in their contracts.
“Opening toll plazas will not cause any loss to the government or the toll companies and it won’t benefit anybody,” he added.
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