Tribune News Service
Jammu, July 21
Amid protests by Opposition parties and local residents, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) on Tuesday made the Lakhanpur toll plaza in Kathua district operational.
The toll plaza was inaugurated by Ajay Kumar Rajak, Project Director, NHAI, Jammu, who claimed that the toll plaza was supposed to be made operational in 2012 when the four-laning of the Jammu-Pathankot highway was completed.
This is the fourth toll post in Jammu region.
The commencement of toll plaza triggered protests in the area with hundreds of local people, workers of the Congress, Panthers Party and Youth Federation, Lakhanpur, and office-bearers of the truckers’ union staging a demonstration against the BJP-led NDA government and accusing it of “institutionalised loot” amid growing inflation.
A large contingent of police and paramilitary personnel was deployed at Lakhanpur keeping in view the apprehensions of protests and unrest in the area.
“Since 2014, this is the fourth toll collection centre in the Jammu province. After giving the Union Territory status to Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP had claimed that there would be no toll plaza in the UT but they have resorted to open loot. The government should immediately disband this toll post,” Congress leader Pankaj Dogra alleged.
The protesters had a scuffle with security personnel after they tried to march toward the toll collection centre. Later, they also courted arrest in protest against the operationalisation of the toll plaza.
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