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Establishment of Toll plazas in Jammu violates NH Fee rules, UT criteria
BJP’s tacit support exposes its claims of ending discrimination with Jammuites
8/6/2020 12:30:29 AM

JAMMU, Aug 5: On the first anniversary of revocation of Article-370 of Indian constitution, the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) leaders have been celebrating the day with gusto but their tall claims of ending discrimination with Jammu have so far been proving deceitful as Jammu has got only indiscriminate establishment of toll plazas as return gift of supporting August 5 move of last year.
After the revocation of Article 370, BJP leadership had claimed that the move would end the decades old discrimination meted out to Jammu at the hands of Kashmir based political parties, however, it has also followed their footsteps by imposing unjust decisions on Jammuites.
The latest addition to the discrimination with Jammu comes in the form of new toll-plaza at Lakhanpur in the last week of July, which was third in the stretch of around 120 kilometers of National Highway in Jammu. The two others are located at Thandi Khui-Sarore toll plaza and Ban toll plaza, while there is proposal to set up other toll plazas near Akhnoor and enroute Ring Road project.
The establishment of three toll plazas in just 120 kilometres also violates “The National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules 2008.
In the paragraph 8, Sub-para 2 of “The National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008”, the Section, “Location of toll plaza” stipulate that a toll plaza cannot come up on the same section of the National Highway and in the same direction within a distance of 60 kilometres where a toll plaza is already functioning. The rules say that NHAI has the powers to set-up another toll plaza within a distance of 60 kilometres, “only if the same is for the collection of fee for permanent bridge or bypass or tunnel, however, the rules make it clear that NHAI must explain in writing why it is setting up the toll plaza within 60 kilometres of another already existing toll plaza.
Interestingly, the Lakhanpur toll plaza has come up at the same Lakhanpur border, where erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir government had been collecting a toll tax and BJP and its affiliate organizations were against it and calling it “Jaziya”. “Within six months of revoking the “Jaziya”, BJP government imposed toll tax on all vehicles. Moreover, the next toll plaza along Jammu-Amritsar highway after Lakhanpur toll plaza is at Jhakholari in Punjab, which again does not fall even 30 kilometres from the Lakhanpur toll plaza. It is again in violation of NHAI rules”, a politician said.
He further said that on one hand JK is a Union Territory but it is the only UT where toll plazas have been implemented quite different to the case of New Delhi and Chandigarh UTs, where no such toll plazas have been established.
“Does it not fall under the definition of discrimination with Jammu? The same BJP leaders had boasted of uprooting the toll-plazas at Sarore but they themselves tacitly gave support to such toll-plazas, which exposed their claims of ending discrimination with Jammu”, the politician said, adding that Jammu city has been transformed from a “City of temples” to “City of toll-plazas” and all credit goes to BJP only for this new achievement.
Those who claimed of ending discrimination with Jammu have openly been imposing burden on common Jammuites and are in the impression that people would support all such new type of discriminations, then they are living in fool’s paradise, another politician said, adding that if the tall claims made by BJP would not translate into action, people would definitely teach them lesson in coming days.
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