Farmers make Ladhowal plaza toll-free : The Tribune India

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Farmers make Ladhowal plaza toll-free

Farmers make Ladhowal plaza toll-free

Farmer unions hold a protest at the Ladhowal toll barrier demanding cut in the toll charges in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: ASHWANI DHIMAN



Tribune News Service

Nikhil Bhardwaj

Ludhiana, June 16

Various farmer and labourer unions on Sunday made the Punjab's most expensive Ladhowal toll barrier free for commuters. Farmers took this step against the exorbitant toll charges being collected from the commuters.

Farmers had earlier already announced that if their demands to decrease the toll charges to bare minimum is not accepted by Saturday, they would not allow the toll company to collect charges.

Farmer unions hold a protest at the Ladhowal toll barrier demanding cut in the toll charges in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: ASHWANI DHIMAN

They raised slogans against the Union Government for putting an extra burden on the common people. They alleged despite paying various taxes, including road tax, at the time of buying a vehicle and this toll tax are an additional burden on the people.

Farmers didn't spare the MLAs of Aam Aadmi Party of Ludhiana as they alleged these MLAs have failed to stood up for the cause of the people and they never spoke against the exorbitant rates at Ladhowal toll barrier.

Farmer unions hold a protest at the Ladhowal toll barrier demanding cut in the toll charges in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: ASHWANI DHIMAN

Dilbag Singh, president, Bharatiya Kisan Mazdoor Union (BKU-M), said apart from the Bharatiya Kisan Union (Doaba), some other tempo and taxi unions and unions of labourers had also offered support to the protest.

"Earlier farmers used to hold protest for the farm issues but this protest is for the issues of common people. The exorbitant toll rates are pinning holes in the pockets of everyone. This Ladhowal toll barrier is said to be the most in expensive toll barrier in Punjab. Toll company has increased the toll charges thrice in a year which is not acceptable to us and we will not allow toll operation untill charges are deceased to bare minimum," added Dilbagh.

Farmer unions hold a protest at the Ladhowal toll barrier demanding cut in the toll charges in Ludhiana on Sunday. Tribune photo: ASHWANI DHIMAN

Asked if any official of government or National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) approached them for a talk over their issues, Singh said no one approached them so far. Now, this dharna is going to be held for an indefinite period.

Interestingly, commuters who were passing through the toll barrier had been appreciating the farmers for standing for the cause of common people. Commuters were waving at the farmers sitting at toll barrier and were showing a positive gesture for their move.

Toll manager Deepinder Singh said farmers started a peaceful protest at around 11 am and toll was made free for the commuters. He added that he had apprised the NHAI and other officials of the toll company about the situation.

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