Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) workers on Monday stopped toll collection at the Anandnagar toll plaza in Mulund to protest against the excessive traffic congestion brought on by the closure of the Mumbra bypass road.
Dozens of NCP workers, under the leadership of MLA Jitendra Awhad, reached the toll naka around 10 am today and agitated against the worsening traffic conditions following the closure of the Mumbra bypass.
They subsequently gheraoed the collection booths and allowed motorists to pass without paying the toll fee. The protest continued till afternoon.
Earlier this month, PWD department closed the Mumbra bypass road for repairs, forcing motorists to take diversions and resulting in major traffic woes on the Thane stretch of the highway.
The bypass is pivotal for heavy vehicles travelling towards JNPT, Bhiwandi, Nashik and Ahmedabad. The long queues at Airoli and Anandnagar toll nakas only added to motorists’ misery.
According to one estimate, motorists have to spend anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour more to cross the toll nakas during peak hours.
Taking cognizance of the problems, NCP MLA Jitendra Awhad had last week demanded the closure of both Airoli and Anandnagar (Mulund) toll nakas till the bypass is re-opened.
His demand, however, failed to elicit a response from the state government. The NCP leader finally took matters into his own hands and stopped toll collection forcefully today morning.
“People are suffering because of the government’s lack of planning. The repair work will continue for two more months and motorists will continue to suffer till then. The government should stop toll collection for two months and bear the loss instead of making things worse for motorists,” Awhad said.
Meanwhile, a police official confirmed that the security at the toll naka will be increased from tomorrow.