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Farmer unions make toll plaza in Ludhiana free for commuters, NHAI pegs daily loss at Rs 1 crore | Chandigarh News

The farmer unions’ protest at Ladhowal toll plaza in Ludhiana entered its second day on Monday, as vehicles continued to pass without paying any toll fee.

Farmer union activists made the Ladhowal toll plaza free for commuters on Sunday, alleging that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) was hiking the toll fee at will without providing adequate facilities.

The NHAI officials, meanwhile, have pegged the loss at a minimum of Rs 1 crore per day.

The protest is led by the Kisan Mazdoor Union and the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Doaba), along with representatives from the taxi union, tempo union and truckers’ union of Punjab.

Indervir Singh Qadian, president of the Malwa zone, BKU Doaba, said, “The toll at Ladhowal barrier has been hiked from Rs 150 to Rs 220 in past few years for one-side commuters. Earlier, regular commuters used to get monthly passes for Rs 180, which has been gradually hiked to Rs 330.”

“They are charging so much from the common people but without providing any facility. The road is full of potholes, there is no maintenance and rules are being flouted openly. There is no provision for an ambulance in case of a medical emergency. The drainage facility is so poor that during rains, the entire highway is flooded. So, what is this toll being charged for?” he asked.

Protesting against the hike in toll rate farmers makes toll plaza free for commuters at Ladhowal toll plaza in Ludhiana. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Indervir Singh added, “Until the toll is not reduced, we won’t allow NHAI to charge commuters; the toll plaza will be free then.”

Navratan, project director, NHAI Ludhiana, said, “There is no immediate overwhelming hike in the toll. Rates have been increased marginally as per annual revisions done across the country. The state government needs to talk to the protesters and solve the issue as soon as possible so that the functioning of the toll plaza can be resumed.”

Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Sakshi Sawhney said an official was sent to negotiate with the protesters and lift the agitation so that operations at the toll barrier can resume.

Sawhney said that the single-way toll fee for cars, jeeps, and vans has been hiked from Rs 215 (2023-24) to 220 for 2024-25, Rs 730 to 745 for trucks and buses, and Rs 350 to 355 for minibuses, among other categories.

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