A highway toll collector at Kherki Daula toll plaza was thrashed and his booth ransacked by a group of villagers who got angry when they were asked to show original documents of a vehicle demanding free passage at the toll on Tuesday morning.
CCTV footage shows villagers ransacking the toll plaza after reaching there at 10.30 am and beating the employees.
A complaint was lodged by highway operator Skylark at the Kherki Daula police station.
There are regular skirmishes between locals and toll operators over payment of toll fees as villagers claiming exemption get agitated when asked to show original documents for their vehicles.
According to a senior highway official, a person in a white Fortuner car got into an argument with a toll staff over payment of fees but was allowed to go when he got aggressive. The man, however, parked the car in another lane and called his relatives who came in five cars. They ransacked the toll plaza and thrashed the staff for over 15 minutes.
“The villagers were led by former village committee chairman Hoshyiar Singh who hails from Naurangpur and is a habitual offender at the toll plaza. The villagers came in a group, thrashed the employees, damaged the toll booth and even removed the barrier,” said TC Rao, CMD, Skylark, the highway operator.
The highway operator, however, is not very hopeful of any action against Singh and his cohorts as he is believed to be politically connected. Earlier too, Singh was named in another FIR registered by the operator.
Meanwhile, S Raghuraman, MCEPL CEO, called for strict action against the accused as this would motivate others to follow the same path. “We have helped 8,000 villagers in 31 villages by giving them free tags but we should not be coerced like this,” he said.
The incidents of violence at the toll plaza are not rare. In 2015, more than 100 assaults took place at the toll plaza in which over 50 FIRs were registered with the police. Toll operators, however, say that despite repeated complaints there is no serious action against the offenders by the police, which emboldens them.
Meanwhile, SHO Anand Kumar said that they have received the complaint and would investigate the matter further.