Indefinite protest begins for toll-free DND flyway

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Noida: Hundreds of people from more than 35 organisations in Noida and Greater Noida started an indefinite protest against the toll-tax on Delhi-Noida-Direct flyway on Sunday.

Led by former minister Nawab Singh Nagar under the banner of Janhit Morcha, the protesters removed the barricades at the toll plaza to allow vehicles a free-of-charge passage and continued to do so throughout the day. While commuters had a free run on the flyway without paying the toll, the protesters said they will not allow toll to be levied till their indefinite sit-in is over.

However, being a Sunday, there were no traffic snarls or inconvenience to the commuters as the protest continued on the side of the DND bridge while allowing a free flow of traffic. “It’s a rare opportunity to get a free-of-charge ride on DND. It’s high time the toll-tax was removed from here,” said a commuter on way to Delhi.

Nagar told TOI that the protest will last till a final settlement on the matter is arrived at. While a large contingent of police presence on the flyway ensured that the protest was a peaceful one, numerous attempts to reach Anwar Abbasi, spokesperson for Noida Toll Bridge Company Limited (NTBCL) failed as his cellphone was not reachable.

The protest, result of a month-long preparation by the morcha including a series of meetings and plannings at the residence of Nagar in Sector 33, was a peaceful one and was held in the presence of SP, crime, Vishwajeet Shrivastava, city magistrate Bachchu Singh and ADM Vineet Kumar. “We are here to ensure that no one takes law and order in their hands,” said a police officer.

The protestors also handed over a petition to ADM Vineet Kumar and addressed to chief minister Akhilesh Yadav for a CAG inquiry into the toll-tax.

“Many meetings have taken place between the state and the Central government and Noida authority. But no result came out of those meetings. We are now forced to take the matter in our hands as residents of Noida feel victimised by this unjustified toll,” said Nagar.

“We will not allow any toll henceforth through the duration of our indefinite protest. It’s a fight to the finish as we do not wish to listen to any more assurances or excuses of either NTBCL, Noida Authority or the state government,” said Anil Gupta, convener, Janhit Morcha.

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While the food for the protestors was arranged by Nagar from his residence on Sunday, it is yet to be seen how the agitation pans out in the coming days as many organisations have held similar protests for a toll-free DND earlier in the past since 2010.

Meanwhile, a PIL by Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations (FONRWA) for a toll-free DND is up for hearing this week in the Allahabad high court.