Chakka Jam to protest FASTag implementation in Surat

Chakka Jam to protest FASTag implementation in Surat

Lanes on national highway toll plazas across India will accept toll only through FASTag - fitted in a vehicle that pays toll automatically when the vehicle crosses the boom barrier of the toll plaza.(Representational Image)

Farmers, businesspersons, co-operative leaders and servicemen decided to observe a Chakka Jam (road blockade) on Sunday morning at Kamrej and Bhatiya toll plazas in Surat opposing mandatory FASTag-enabled payments. They want vehicles bearing Surat registration be exempted from paying taxes at the two toll plazas.

Nitin Gadkari, the Road Transport and Highways Minister, had announced that FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles, private and commercial. Lanes on national highway toll plazas across India will accept toll only through FASTag - fitted in a vehicle that pays toll automatically when the vehicle crosses the boom barrier of the toll plaza. The objective is to remove bottlenecks and capture all toll electronically. However, the new system which was to start from Sunday (December 15), will now be enforced from January 15.

Three BJP MPs - Darshana Jardosh (Surat city), C R Patil (Surat Navsari) and Prabhu Vasava (Bardoli Surat) - also made a similar representations to Gadkari a few days ago, but it was turned down.

On Friday night, the leaders of Na Kar — a committee formed by the protesters — called a meeting at Kathor village in Surat where it was decided that they would organise a chakka jam on Sunday.

“Earlier the national highway authorities had provision for exemption of toll taxes to the local vehicles. Under FASTags, no such provision has been mentioned,” Na Kar committee member and Surat district panchayat member Darshan Naik said.

“If we are detained by police on Saturday night, we will launch indefinite hunger strike,” he added.

Sources in Surat police department said strict police arrangements will be in place at both the toll plazas in Surat district and actions will be taken against those who would try to block highway traffic.