Even as bus and truck operators continued with their protest at toll posts near Pathankot and Amritsar on the newly-constructed Pathankot Amritsar national highway against the high toll rates on Tuesday, small vehicles, ambulances, vegetable laden vehicles and two-wheelers were allowed to move.
The transporters were protesting at at Zhakho Lahri toll post near Pathankot and Kathunangal toll post near Amritsar for three days demanding slashing of toll rates.
As the meeting with Amritsar deputy commissioner (DC) on Monday bore no fruit, they staged a massive protest at kathunangal toll post on Tuesday and raised slogans against the National highway Authority of India (NHAI) for turning a blind eye to their problems.
At Zhakho Lahri, a group also kept on sitting on the road, which was later shifted to one side of the road, after deputy superintendent of police (DSP) Parabhjot Virk intervened into the matter and eased traffic.
The state-run buses, however, were diverted via alternate routes. Many commuters preferred trains over buses to reach their destinations.
“I have to go Gurdaspur urgently for daily collection, but came back from bus stand as private buses have stopped services,” claimed Dinesh Thukral, a local, adding, they stand by the bus operators, because if the toll is not slashed the operators will increase fair, which will pinch their pocket.
Jagdish Sahni, a member of Punjab Motor Union, told Hindustan Times that they would not lift their protest from Kathunangal as the NHAI authorities seemed unmoved by their genuine demand.
They were paying heavy road tax, which was meant for the maintenance of roads, then should why they pay toll tax, he sought to know.
“Though we are ready to pay toll tax, it should be made reasonable and the NHAI must not loot us by imposing heavy rates,” he said.
When asked about outcome of the meeting with the Amritsar DC, he said: “The DC has power, but he is not willing to use it to solve the problem. I have been in ministry and know the powers of a DC, but it seems that the
administration is little bothered and is giving no heed to our and passengers’ problem.”
Pathankot DC Sukhvinder Singh said he had asked police to ensure smooth flow of traffic on the NH.