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Aruna Rai
News and pictures by:  Hareesh Kumar Hejmady, 
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Protest against commencement of collection of toll at Hejmady toll plaza without completing the highway widening work
Padubidri, February 1st, 2017:  A protest against commencement of toll collection without completing the NH-66 widening work was held at Hejamady toll plaza by Hejamady Nagarika Horata Samiti and various other organisations from Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts on Tuesday night.  Addressing the gathering, Dr. Deviprasad Shetty, the president of Udupi Taluk Grama Panchayat presidents Okkoota, said that the collection of toll will not be allowed without completing the pending work at Mulki, Padubidir, Udupi, Brahmavara and other places.
Dr. Shetty warned of intensifying the protest if the highway contractors go ahead with toll collection on February 4th, as per their announcement.  "The highway widening work has been done in an unscientific manner and a number of people have lost their lives in accidents because of this.  Appropriate compensation should be paid to the victims.  And also enough compensation should be paid to the peopple who sacrificed their land and property for the widening of the highway.  Only after this, the company will be allowed to collect toll," he said.

Horata Samiti's Shekhar Hejmady said that the locals must be exempted from payment of toll charges and the people's representatives should understand the problems faced and should respond positively.  He also warned of intense stuggle if the demands are not met.

Kaup Block Congress president Naveenchandra J. Shetty demanded exemption of toll for the vehicles registered in Udupi district (KA-20) at Hejamady and Kota toll gates as done to Dakshina Kannada district registered vehicles (KA-19) at Suratkal toll gate."Don't test our patience. If you collect toll forcibly, we will give you an appropriate answer," he warned.
Mulki Block Congress president Dhananjay Kumar Mattu said that Hejamady is a border between Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts and hundreds of tourist ccars and buses constantly ply between the two districts.  "It is impossible to pay toll everkytime and nowhere in the country, one can find two toll gates within a distance of 12 kms. i.e. Suratkal and Hejamady.  People should unite keeping aside their political affiliations and provide justice to the people," he demanded.

Kaup JDS president Balaji Yogeesh Shetty said the local problems should be addressed first and he demanded payment of higher compensation to the evacuees. 

Kinnigoli Bus Owners Association president Durgaprasad Hegde said no toll will be paid until the service road work is completed and the buses are allowed to use bypass roads.

Former Zilla Parishat president P. Ravindranath G. Hegde called upon people to fight irrespeive of party lines till the justice is done.  Mulki Car Drivers-Owners Association president Madhu Acharya said the toll will not be paid until the road problems are solved. 

Horata Samiti's Ghulam Mohammad urged for toll exemption for the locals.

Kaup Youth Congress president Vishwas V. Amin, entrepreneur Mithun R. Hegde, State Fisheries Corporation president Y. Deepka Yermal, Kannangar Urus Samti preisdent Abdul Hameed Kannangar, Hejamady Congress Standing Committee president Sudheer Karkera. entrepreneur Santhoshkumar Shetty of hotel Pallavi, Vasudeva Rao, Sudhakar Shetty, Abdul Aziz Hejamady, Hareesh Shetty Padebettu, Ravi Shetty, Padubidri Bunts Association president Manohar Shetty, Kiran Kumar Udyavara, Rolphy D'Costa, Bhaskar Kinnigoli, Riyaz Palli, Hakeem Mulki, Ansar Ahmed, Burton Sequeira, Inna Deepak Kotian and others were present.