Mangaluru, Oct 01, 2015: A large gathering of those who commute between Mangaluru and Udupi were stranded for about an hour on Sept 30, after Congress activists and members of Nagarika Horata Samithi led by Mangaluru City North MLA Mohiuddin Bava blocked the national highway at Surathkal to oppose collection of toll from Oct 1.
MLA had announced that a peaceful protest would be staged in front of NITK - National Institute of Technology – Karnataka where the toll plaza is. Members from different organisations, Ivan D’Souza, MLC, and District Youth Congress president Mithun Rai came in a rally and joined the protesters at the venue around 10.30 a.m. They blocked the highway at 10.50 a.m.
There was long back log of vehicles stranded on the either side of the busy highway. Among those affected by the snap protest included a resident of Bengaluru who was rushing to meet his daughter admitted in a hospital in Manipal. He was seen beseeching protestors to make way for his vehicle to see his ailing daughter.
The police did little to move away the protesters from the highway. It was only around noon that the protestors relented and allowed the vehicles to move. No case was registered with the Surathkal Police for blocking the traffic.
Addressing protesters, Bava said there was no question of allowing operation of the toll plaza on the narrow stretch of the highway in the absence of a service road. Bava said only two counters had been built on either sides of the highway, which, he said, would cause hindrance to movement of vehicles. There should be a total of 10 counters — five on either side. Unless this is done we will not allow this toll plaza to function.
MLC D’Souza said the High Court orders were being mentioned as a reason for allowing operation of the toll plaza. Cannot obey those orders it was tweeted. You ( the people) are the High Court and the Supreme Court he said. Members of District unit of the Youth Congress, Democratic Youth Federation of India, All College Students Association and other organisations joined the protest.