Collection suspended, layoff fears haunt staff at toll plazas

Collection suspended, layoff fears haunt staff at toll plazas

Toll plaza workers submit a memorandum to the DC.

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, February 22

With farmers protesting at the toll plazas for nearly 90 days now, the contractual workers working at the toll plazas are fearing job losses.

After the imposition of the lockdown due to Covid-19, this was the second time, when the company is suffering losses. We thought of recovering from the Covid slump after the relaxations in the lockdown, but farmers’ agitation only added to it. — Rajeev Sharma, toll manager at Nakodar toll plaza

While the suspension of toll collection across the state has already cost dear to the toll companies, the workers anticipate that if situation remains the same, they are likely to face layoffs.

As the impact on collection at some toll plazas began from mid October, last year, the same had intensified to no fee collection with the free movement of vehicles at all toll plazas after various farm organisations moved to Delhi. The inability to collect toll has caused revenue loss in crores to the toll-collecting authorities.

Farmers, up in arms against the three farm laws passed by the Centre, have been staging sit-ins at toll plazas in the district since October 1. Demanding repeal of these laws, the protesting farmers are not allowing toll collection authorities to charge toll from commuters. Farmers, however, are permitting vehicles to pass through without any payment at the plazas.

Rajeev Sharma, toll manager at Nakodar toll plaza, said: “As farmers have blocked the toll plazas and are allowing vehicles to pass without any payment, our company is suffering huge losses. After the imposition of the lockdown due to Covid-19, this was the second time, when the company is suffering losses. We thought of recovering from the Covid slump after the relaxations in the lockdown, but farmers’ agitation only added to it. At present, the company has been paying salary to its workers on a regular basis, but if the situation persists, the company will not be able to sustain the loss and it will affect our jobs.”

In this regard, workers of the Rohan Rajdeep Tollways, Toll Plaza Nakodar also submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner to press restoration of toll plazas. They demanded police protection for resumption of toll collection activities.

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