Mangalore: Various organizations under the aegis of the Nagarika Hitharakshana Samithi have decided to observe a bandh from Suratkal to Pavanje on March 27, Wednesday in protest against the decision of the administration to go ahead with the construction of a tollgate near the National Institute of Technology Karnataka at Suratkal, despite opposition by locals. A protest is also planned at the toll gate construction site near NIT-K.
Earlier on March 26, Tuesday, an altercation ensued between the NHAI authorities as well as the locals who were adamant on their demand that the works on the tollgate being constructed by IRCON, the contracting agency, should be suspended.
The works had begun on March 25, Monday amid police protection, after five failed attempts to construct a toll gate in the area earlier. The argument of the public is that the rules do not permit the construction of a toll gate within 60 km radius of the MCC and that the minimum distance between two toll gates should not be less than 45 kms. Though the works were suspended by Monday evening following mounting pressure from locals, on March 26, Tuesday, works had once again resumed with officials even producing a letter by the DC dated March 16 directing NHAI to complete the construction at the earliest. The explanation by Srimishra, project director of NHAI that only the gate is being constructed and no toll would be collected, did not convince the protestors.
The latter argued that with three schools and an engineering college in the vicinity, the toll gate would surely be a disturbance. Leaders including Yatish Baikampady,Mukka corporator Revathi Putran, Pushparaj Kudumboor, Mahabala Rai, Sureshchandra Shetty, Kripa Alva, Satyajit Suratkal, Sumithra, T N Ramesh, representatives of various organizations were part of the protest. Tahsildar, Ravichandra Nayak and Suratkal and Panambur police too arrived to ensure that the situation did not go out of control.