Ludhiana | Farmers protest as Ladhowal toll booth resumes operations ahead of SKM meeting
Indignant at the resumption of operations at the Ladhowal toll, farmers affiliated with Union Kirti Kisan and Union Bhartiya Kisan in Kadian staged a sit-in on Thursday.
A fight also ensued between security staff at the toll plaza and farmers after they asked toll plaza staff to suspend operations. The police intervened in time and stopped the fight. Later, officials at the toll plaza agreed to suspend operations. The deadlock caused a traffic jam on the NH-44. Activists from the Kirti Kisan union also blocked the NH-44 in front of the police station.
Union members said not only were operations at the toll plaza resumed, but the provision of multiple trips within 24 hours from the toll plaza had been phased out.
“This is a breach of agreement. It was decided that the decision to operate the toll plazas will be taken after the meeting of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), but the authorities have already resumed operations. Toll station officials agreed to cooperate and operations were suspended, ”said Santokh Singh Sekhon, head of the Kirti Kisan Union.
The farmers had decided to end the protest sit-in at Ladhowal Toll Plaza on December 15. However, farmers’ unions later called for the protest to be resumed as toll officials revised the rate. ??125 to ??135 for a one-way ticket, ??185 to ??200 for the return trip and removed the provision of multiple trips within a 24 hour window.
National Highways Authority of India project manager Virender Singh also visited and discussed the issue with farmer leaders. However, the talks remained inconclusive. “The prices were not increased, but adjusted according to the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and an advertisement in this regard was also published in the main dailies in September,” he said.
Bone of contention
Increase in one-way and round-trip toll prices.
Disposal of existing monthly passes, which will force commuters to reapply for them.
Take the toll at Ladhowal Toll Plaza first, then at the Southern Bypass.
Full toll for commuters not using Fastag.
Removed the provision of multiple trips within a 24 hour window.