Protests against levying of toll tax at Kai-Chechkoot

Protests against levying of toll tax at Kai-Chechkoot

Anantnag: Transporters and traders here in Anantnag on Wednesday held a protest at the Deputy Commissioner’s office against the imposition of toll tax by National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on NH-44.
The NHAI, a year after NH-44 was thrown open for vehicular movement, has made toll gates at Kai-Chechkoot (near Sangam) functional since Tuesday and a toll tax is being levied on every type of vehicle.
Only vehicles registered to addresses within a radius of 20 kilometers of the toll gates have been exempted from the tax. Some transporters held a protest at the toll gate in Kai-Chechkoot on Tuesday as well.
Today, however, a coordinated protest demonstration was held at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Anantnag with the demand of rolling back the toll tax for transporters and the general public of Jammu and Kashmir.
The protesters – under the banner of All Traders and Manufacturers Association, Sumo Stand Union Janglat Mandi, and Bus and Mini-buses association – submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner and sought immediate roll back of the toll tax.
“They are charging 85 rupees from a passenger vehicle. It will mean a steep increase in the fare, particularly between Anantnag and Srinagar, which is already at 100 rupees,” Ghulam Rasool, a transporter, said.
The transporters added that they will have no option but to increase the fare and it will weigh heavy on the common man’s pocket. Other traders also expressed concern, saying the toll will affect the overall trade in the valley.
“The government should look into the matter and take immediate steps,” the protestors said.
Anantnag Deputy Commissioner Khalid Jahangir said that he will take the concerns of the transporters and traders to higher officials.
“But the fact of the matter is, if we want better roads we have to pay toll taxes. And they will be paid according to the rules,” Jahangir said, adding that the rules are set by the NHAI.