Massive chaos and traffic jams were reported on Tuesday at the Kaniminike toll plaza on the recently inaugurated Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway. The protesters are demanding service roads that were not being built, and an objection to the toll rate fixed being too high.
Toll Collection On New Highway
A farmer carrying grass from the Kengeri-Kumbalagod region to Bidadi (less than 30km away) in his Maruti 800 was stunned when he was asked to pay Rs 270 – double the toll of Rs 135 – at the Kaniminike plaza. With the service road closed, the farmer had no option but to take the expressway.
The farmer was unaware, though, as to why he needed to pay a toll of Rs 270, applicable for the 55-km Bengaluru-Nidaghatta stretch when he was traveling for only 18 km on the e-way. He was told that he was being charged double the usual toll since his car did not have a FASTag sticker, reported TOI.
As toll collection began at 8 am on Tuesday, thousands of commuters traveling over shorter distances started a protest at Kaniminike, triggering a huge traffic jam.
A farmer, Rajanna, told TOI, “They are charging Rs 270 for just a half-km ride on the expressway. The service road was closed an hour ago and no pass was issued to farmers who travel over shorter distances. I don’t earn enough to pay such a silly toll on a daily basis. If I had the money, I’d have hired a laborer at my farm. The government must intervene.”
The toll fee for Bengaluru-Mysuru expressway is too high for common people. it is unfair and unjust. The government should reconsider this decision and reduce the toll rates. #NoMoreToll #BengaluruMysuruExpressway@BSBommai @mepratap @narendramodi pic.twitter.com/Z7lrBaV1SK
— DEEPAK S (@official__deepu) March 14, 2023
Notably, the Toll fee ranges from Rs 135 for four-wheelers to Rs 880 for buses. Vehicles without FASTag stickers are charged double the toll amount as a penalty.
“I have no issues paying the toll, but how can they charge us without any notice and with work on the expressway still not complete? Forget the service road, even the main road isn’t ready. So why should we pay Rs 135 for going to Bidadi?” said a commuter.
Today, the truth of Bengaluru-Mysuru Expressway stands exposed.
The ₹8,000+ Crores project has broken down entirely on the very 1st Day of Toll Collection.@NHAI_Official was forced to inaugurate this untested & incomplete project only to suit the agenda of BJP. (1/7) pic.twitter.com/ibMuPB2rzH
— DK Suresh (@DKSureshINC) March 14, 2023
The Congress also joined the protesters, who are demanding the building of service roads. The protesters waved black flags and shouted slogans against the ruling BJP governments at the state and Center.