Madurai: Coming down heavily on the functioning of tollgates in Tamil Nadu, Justice K. K. Sasidharan of the Madras high court said that rowdies and anti-social elements were being employed to collect toll.
The observation was made during the hearing of a case on Wednesday in which petitioner Palanikumar from Melur had stated that lorries were allowed to park on the roadside near tollgates on the Karur-Dindigul national highway. Justice Sasidharan narrated his personal experience at a tollgate in Aravakurichi on Karur-Dindigul NH saying that his car had the high court emblem above the number plate and the national flag on the bonnet, but the employees demanded that he show his identity card. “If I was put to such hardship, I can imagine the plight of ordinary people dealing with employees at tollgates,” said Justice Sasidharan and added, “You give contracts to influential people and then you cannot take action against them.” H. M. Naqvi, chief general manger, National Highways Authority of India, Chennai, who made a personal appearance in the court, expressed his regrets for the incident and told the judge that he had initiated action against employees.
However when he claimed that the toll plazas were functioning efficiently in the state, Justice Sasidharan intervened and stated that most tollgates did not have dedicated lanes and ambulances were forced to wait in long queues. Justices Sasidharan and G. R. Swaminathan also asked the chief general manager to inspect the toll-plazas. Naqvi assure-d the court that he would do so and correct the defects. He also informed that they have already introduced electronic toll collection (ETC) in 23 out of 43 toll plazas in the state.