Punjab CM closes three toll plazas in Hoshiarpur district - Hindustan Times
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Punjab CM closes three toll plazas in Hoshiarpur district

Feb 15, 2023 03:16 PM IST

Anticipating criticism for personally coming to announce the closure when the toll barriers were to close down anyway on expiry of the contract, Bhagwant Mann said he had come to ‘expose’ the nexus of toll companies and political parties that ruled the state in the past

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday announced the closure of three toll plazas on the Balachaur-Dasuya state highway in Hoshiarpur district.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann at the Nangal Shaheedan toll plaza on the Balachaur-Dasuya state highway in Hoshiarpur district on Wednesday. (HT Photo)
Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann at the Nangal Shaheedan toll plaza on the Balachaur-Dasuya state highway in Hoshiarpur district on Wednesday. (HT Photo)

Addressing the media at Nangal Shaheedan, the chief minister said the toll company had requested for extension to run the toll plazas at Majari in Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar, Nangal Shaheedan and Mangarh but the government refused permission in public interest.

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He was accompanied by Punjab revenue minister Brahm Shankar Jimpa and Vidhan Sabha deputy speaker Jai Kishan Rori.

“Had there been a Congress, Akali or BJP government at the helm, it would have agreed to the proposal but the Aam Aadmi Party government has only people’s interest in mind,” Mann said.

Anticipating criticism for personally coming to announce the closure when the toll barriers were to close down anyway on expiry of the contract, he said he had come to ‘expose’ the nexus of toll companies and the political parties that ruled the state in the past.

Mann accused the previous state governments of letting the toll companies fleece the public for years. “The companies did not adhere to the clauses of the agreement, yet their agreements were regularly renewed. For their self-interest, the previous governments mortgaged the interest of the public to the toll companies. We will not allow the loot anymore,” he said.

He said the company operating the three plazas closed today, had sought extension citing losses due to the Covid-19 slowdown and farmers agitation whereas it had minted much more money than it spent on road repair and other facilities. He said a show-cause notice was being served to it as to why it should not be blacklisted for violating the contract agreement. The previous governments should have terminated the contract but they did not even impose a fine for breach of trust, he added.

Responding to a media query, he said the employees rendered jobless by the closure of toll plazas would be taken care of but left without answering if the government had adequate funds for the repair of roads made toll-free.

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