Elite citizens, public, different associations and representatives of the bar associations united at the Nuakhurigan toll gate near Sasan to protest the “illegal” collection of toll tax from local vehicles. They also forcibly opened the gate for a day and allowed vehicles to ply without paying tax.
“The four-way road, named as Biju Expressway, has been constructed for the industries from Sambalpur to Rourkela and never for the public. So, why should we pay tax for it,” asked senior advocate Pradeep Kumar Bahidar at the agitation spot. “Our demand is only to exempt tax for the vehicles with Sambalpur numbers,” he added.
The Highway Users’ Committee had given an ultimatum to the State Government till May 25 to consider the demand of the people for tax exemption for the local vehicles including buses, cars, tractors, etc. When the Government made no response, the people and different organisations resorted to agitation.
The number of the protesters was so high that the police force and the magistrate on duty had to remain silent onlookers on the spot.
Sambalpur apart, the public of Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts with the local bar associations at the lead also took similar steps to protest toll tax collection from the local vehicles on the Biju Expressway.
Sambalpur District Bar Association president Bijitendriya Pradhan and other agitation leaders warned that if the Government still remains apathetic to the tax exemption demand, they would totally paralyse the traffic on the Biju Expressway.