Thousands of men and women protested, demanding that the collection of toll fee on OMR and ECR be stopped.
The Dravida Munnetra Kazhangam (DMK), on Friday, protested against toll gates within Chennai city limits and held a demonstration in Sholinganallur. Thousands of men and women took to the road and shouted slogans demanding to stop the collection of toll fee on Rajiv Gandhi Salai, known as Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR), and East Coast Road (ECR). They said that the tollgate falls under the limits of the Greater Chennai Corporation.
The demonstration was against five tollgates, where residents were forced to pay money to every day to travel within the city itself. Parliamentarians who represent Chennai, including Dayanidhi Maran and Tamizhachi Thangapandian, were also present at the protest. In November, Dayanidhi Maran had already written a letter to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, alleging that the toll gates were in violation of the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008. The Act prohibited toll plazas from being set up within 10 kilometres of the city corporation limits.
According to the Times of India, the initial cost of the Information Technology (IT corridor) has already been recovered but the state-owned Tamil Nadu Road Development Corporation has continued to collect toll fees.
Commuters allege long queues, congestion and increasing toll fees and have demanded that these plazas be shut. However, reports suggest that the Highways Department will continue to collect toll fees till 2036.
Following the protests, DMK cadre and supporters began to tweet with hashtag ‘#Dont_Want_Tollgate’.
சோழிங்கநல்லூரில் நடைபெறுகிற திராவிட முன்னேற்றக் கழகத்தின் சார்பில் நடக்கும் ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்தில் ஆயிரக்கணக்கானோர் பங்கேற்பு#Dont_Want_Tollgate pic.twitter.com/XHeFomrsw6— Virugai R kotteswaran (@VKotteswaran) December 11, 2020
(Thousands participated in the protest conducted by the DMK in Sholinganallur)
#Dont_Want_Tollgate toll gate is illegal in Chennai corporation pic.twitter.com/fh3f2zjUda— Dhinakaran (@ss_dhinakaran) December 11, 2020
Please remove the toll gates near city limit like OMR . Has Already city is very traffic and toll gate creates more traffic.
Some roads are not even properly maintained but still toll fee is collected. #Dont_Want_Tollgate— Ishwarya (@IcyeeriyaS) December 11, 2020
#Dont_Want _Tollgate pic.twitter.com/juPc63mQ8p— K.அன்பில் ME (@Anbil15) December 11, 2020
Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi and local legislators from the party also took part in the protest on Friday.
This protest has once again been revived in the run-up to the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, which is currently scheduled to happen in May 2021. For the first time, DMK Chief MK Stalin will be contesting against AIADMK chairman Edappadi Palaniswami for the Chief Ministerial post.