Total shutdown in Kolhapur to protest toll tax levy

Kolhapur (Maharashtra), Jan 9 (IANS) The entire Kolhapur city observed a total shutdown Monday as part of a mass agitation against the state government’s decision to levy toll tax on road users.

Angry protestors on more than 500 two- and four-wheelers brought out a rally and carried posters displaying their disapproval for having to pay a toll to drive on city roads.

While schools and colleges remained closed, all other businesses including hotels, restaurants, markets, and even tea stalls downed shutters in protest.

The bandh was called by all political parties and social organisations’ joint action committee to demand withdrawal of toll imposed by the state government.

The government had signed an agreement for a Rs 220-crore project by IRB, an infrastructure development company for constructing around 50 km of roads in the city. The project was on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, permitting the company to collect toll for 30 years.

As the state government recently granted the company permission to collect the toll, some protesters damaged some toll collection points to express their resentment.

According to police, IRB’s toll booth at city’s Kasabavada suburb was set on fire by unidentified people late Sunday making it the seventh toll booth of total nine to be damaged during the last three weeks.

Several leaders including Congress legislative councillors Mahadevrao Mahadik and Dhananjay Mahadik, legislator P.N. Patil and others participated in the mass protest.