MNS activists targeted toll booths across Mumbai today after party chief Raj Thackeray urged people not to pay the cess until the Maharashtra government revealed accurate data of how much funds had been collected at each of the stations and if the cost of the projects had been met.
“I appeal to the people of Maharashtra not to pay toll until the Maharashtra government releases figures stating how much toll has been collected,” party president Raj Thackeray said today.
“I am not against toll collection. But a citizen who pays the toll should know where that money is going and for what purpose it is used,” he said.
“Public is being exploited by toll charges. Government policies with regard to toll collection are not being implemented. We are going to write to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan (about this),” Thackeray said.
“We have deployed our party workers at all the toll plazas and we urge the government not to force the people to pay the toll. We are not interested in coming at loggerheads with the government,” he said.
He asked the government to clarify as to what facilities were the people getting by paying toll.
“How much money has been collected from the tolls in the state, the government should reveal that. There are systems across the world and therefore we want to know about it,” he added.
Soon after he made the appeal, groups of MNS activists went to the toll booths at Mumbai’s periphery and refused to let toll booth operators collect money from vehicles passing through.
Police personnel had to be deployed at locations like the Mumbai-Vashi bridge, Mumbai-Pune expressway and Bandra-Worli sealink to restrain political activists.
According to reports, police personnel were deployed at many toll booths across the state in order to allow them to continue to function.
The MNS protests come after the party activists ‘surveyed’ the functioning of toll booths in the state. The party which achieved notoriety after its campaign against north Indians in the state, had launched a campaign against the toll booths on an earlier occasion as well.
with inputs from Agencies