The round two of the Maharashtra Navriman Sena’s (MNS) anti-toll collection campaign, wherein 50 partymen were to be stationed across toll nakas since yesterday, will now commence today. These men are supposed to count the number of vehicles passing through the toll nakas they are deployed at.
Last Thursday, MNS workers had stormed most toll nakas in and around the city, hoping to intimidate toll collection staff from doing their duty. However, heavy police presence foiled their bid (Cops ensure business as usual at toll plazas, June 14). Interestingly, today also happens to be Shiv Sena’s 46th founding anniversary. MNS leaders said that the commencement of round two of the campaign on Shiv Sena’s foundation day is a mere coincidence.
Commenting on the last minute change in plan, a senior party leader, requesting anonymity said, “There are certain parameters which our party workers need to get acquainted with before they start counting vehicles. For example, auto rickshaws, two-wheelers and various government vehicles are exempted from paying toll. So if all these vehicles are counted, then the figures wouldn’t be authentic.”
It’s been a week since MNS chief Raj Thackeray had called for an anti-toll collection campaign, accusing companies awarded contracts for toll collection of misappropriating funds and not keeping accounts of the collected toll (Opposition silence bought by toll contractors: Raj, June 16).
Last Friday, Thackeray had alleged that there was no legitimate data to show the exact number of vehicles passing via toll nakas, and hence his men would be stationed at these nakas to compile the data. However, the last minute realisation that most of the men who were to be stationed at toll plazas lacked adequate knowledge about the existing laws, forced the party to alter its plan.
Thackeray had also announced that within 15 days after the compilation of data, he would be presenting it to the state government, hoping that it would take immediate action. He had also stated that his men would operate peacefully at toll plazas, but if the staff there opposed them then they wouldn’t keep quiet.
“The party’s movement against toll nakas is on and it would start from Tuesday. There’s some important paperwork that’s needed to be done. We are now ready with everything and will work hard for the betterment of the state,” MNS MLA Shishir Shinde said yesterday.