Union ministry ‘exposes’ MP’s claims on toll exemption

Union ministry ‘exposes’ MP’s claims on toll exemptionThe Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has denied having received any written correspondence or submission from Jammu and Kashmir, seeking exemption of toll tax at Ban Toll Plaza set up on the Jammu-Udhampur National Highway.
The ministry’s position has come as a shocker for the residents of Nagrota and Dansal blocks in the Jammu district as Member of Parliament from the Jammu-Poonch parliamentary seat Jugal Kishore Sharma, who belongs to the ruling BJP at the Centre, had publicly claimed that he had used his “good offices” to “get exemption of toll tax for locals of Nagrota, Jammu and Katra.”
“There is no information available on the subject with the coordination division,” the Union ministry said in a single-line response to an RTI query filed by Jammu-based activist Raman Sharma who had sought to know whether Sharma and Nagrota MAL Devender Singh Rana had made any written correspondence to the Union Road Transport Ministry or any other senior officer of National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) seeking an exemption of tax at Ban Toll Plaza, Nagrota.
On September 10 last year, Sharma, who was then state BJP president, in his official statement, had claimed that “the demand for the exemption of tax at the Ban Toll Plaza, which was raised by the locals of Nagrota and other adjoining areas, got fulfilled from the Union Ministry for Road Transport and Highways with his efforts.”
“According to the decision taken by the Road Transport Ministry, the people living within 20-km radius will not have to pay any toll tax while plying their vehicle on the Jammu-Udhampur road and those from Jammu district and Katra will have to pay just Rs 220 per month for the same purpose,” he had claimed in his statement.
Similarly, the National Conference had also claimed that the party’s long struggle and series of protests had forced the toll authorities to waive the tax for the people of the Nagrota constituency.
At present, the local residents of Dansal and Nagrota blocks, except living within 20-km radius of toll plaza (travelling distance), are being charged fully for every trip, while those residing within 20-km radius of toll plaza have been issued passes and they are being charged Rs 225 per month for using the highway.
The NHAI officials said that on an average 25,000 vehicles cross Ban Toll Plaza on a daily basis.