SEZ's, private corridors what more for us? here is an example of what may happen when everything goes into hands of private capitalists.
Indias costliest toll road opened its gates here on Thursday, instantly triggering a wave of public and political anger at the high fee levied on motorists.
The toll booths put up by the Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprise (NICE) on its 41-km Peripheral Road and 9.1 km Link Road loomed over the motorists, as if to proclaim: Pay heavy, No more free rides!Political leaders, irrespective of their party affiliations, agreed that the toll was very high and a heavy burden on the middle class people. For the Congress and the JD(S) leaders, the ruling BJP was to blame for the heavy tariff. BJP state president D V Sadananda Gowda said he would speak to the minister concerned.
Caught off guard by the new pay-and-use rule, motorists got stuck at the toll collection points, causing huge traffic jams. But what summed up the public mood was this lament by Palani, a truck driver from Krishnagiri who had been driving trucks for nearly 29 years: “They have charged me Rs 145 for a distance of 30 kilometre from Nelamangala to Hosur Road. Is this fair?”The traffic pile-up had begun early on Thursday morning. Vehicles from Kanakapura road, Bannerghatta road moving towards Mysore Road and those from Hosur Road, Tumkur Road heading towards Mysore Road were caught in the chaos. Yet, despite paying a heavy toll, it was not a smooth ride for commuters who had to endure the rugged, incomplete patch of dirt roads on the NICE road.On the first day of the toll collection, the Nandi Economic Corridor Enterprise (NECE), a sub-division of NICE, was in active mode. It was exclusively commissioned for the collection of the fee, besides operation and maintenance of the toll gates.Ashok Kheny, Managing Director, NICE, had his defence ready to a query on the high toll: “The tariff for the BMIC was informed to the State government and a gazette notification was issued as early as 2000.Since then the toll has been the same. Anything I do, I do it legally and I never break the law,” he told Deccan Herald.But he could be in for more trouble since the JD(S) has responded to the toll in strong words. As the party’s state president and former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy put it, the JD(S) struggle against the company will continue. Here’s what JD(S) national president H D Deve Gowda had to say: “All I can say is that NICE has the complete support of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa in imposing a heavy toll on the people.”n NICE toll much higher than NH user fee,