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Is only paying heavy tolls enough? Don’t we need road?

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Surathkal, 18 July 2019 [Fik/News Sources]: The move to forcefully collect toll from local vehicles (Rs 25 for one way) at Surathkal NITK toll gate has been put on hold for three days by the Deputy Commissioner of the district. Various civilian committees and leaders of several political parties have started demanding that a permanent solution be provided to ensure no toll is ever collected from local vehicles at the concerned toll gate.

Incidentally, it is worth noting that travelling of this road is a challenge in itself. He road here is complete weather beaten, appearing more akin to the crater ridden surface of the moon. Yet, vehicle user is compelled to pay expensive tolls to avail the grand opportunity of traversing this terrain. An attempt to pass through the roads within the limits of this toll gate will not only bomb ones wallet but will also pave way for more expenses through vehicle repairs.

The current state of the prominent NH 66 is beyond words. Lose concentration for a moment along this road, and disaster will take you away, say many who travel the stretch with their lives at stake by paying expensive toll.

Real-life experience

Just travel from Surathkal to Baikampady. You will feel as if you are travelling on a road belonging to some GP or a mud road snaking through some far-off village. It won’t be a lie to state that the condition of some roads in some GP’s will put the highways to shame. The reason behind the sad state of the road lies in its poor standard of construction and unscientific method of repair work. There lies a huge pot hole, just inches away from the tollgate. Going ahead with the road, one will experience the discomfort of the repair work taken up in front of NITK which makes a passing vehicle jiggle without a beat. Ups and downs and the trenches along the edge of the road will definitely push a motorist into danger.

The rain water is not flowing properly. It is instead getting accumulated on the side of the highway, thereby causing much trouble to two-wheeler users. It won’t be a surprise to see a motorist miss his balance and kiss the ground. Moreover, a dangerous turn lies in front of Suraj hotel at Surathkal, complemented with even more dangerous pot holes, lying calmly in wait for a disaster. However, the company collecting the toll and the National Highway Ministry has gleefully failed to observe this bad state, let alone repair it.

The exemption from toll collection at NITK tollgate may remain in effect for only three days. But the public has started its protest demanding permanent exemption from the illegal practice. But the most vital issue the highway ministry, state government, MP and the district administration need to take notice of is the sad state of the roads. They should come to the assistance of the common man who is being forced to pay expensive toll charges to make use of a service which only endangers his very existence. In this backdrop, the district administration as well as all the departments should work together to remove the very toll gate itself.

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