2nd day free ride for commuters on DND as protests mount
The protesters, who sat on dharna on Sunday demanding toll-free ride for the DND users, said that they will sit at the site till the government authorities accept their demands. Though the police have detained more than 200 protesters, the freebies continue on the plaza. With the toll-free movement of vehicles on both sides of the 7.5 kilometres long carriageway, the toll operator has claimed a loss to the tune of nearly Rs 65-70 lakh as an average 1.5 lakh vehicles pass daily.
Since Sunday morning, hundreds of protesters under the banner of Janhit Morch camped near the toll plaza and the DND office, demanding that the plaza is made toll-free and an inquiry be set up to check the alleged financial irregularities.
They forced the toll bridge employees out of their posts and let the vehicles pass through without paying. On Monday, their number doubled as people from various groups joined the protest.
The protesters have accused the authorities of misrepresenting facts regarding the money spent on the project and demanded that the flyway is made toll-free. They have been blaming that the DND organisation has made more money than was spent. Nawab Singh Nagar also blamed the Samajwadi Party government for not taking any action as most of the tolls have been removed from the country where the builders of the toll roads have collected their cost.
In the evening, BJP leader Nawab Singh Nagar, who was leading the protesters at DND flyway was detained by the police and was released later. The protesters, even after police action, refused to relent.
“We have given a notice to the district administration, asking them to free the carriageway with immediate effect. Though police have detained hundreds of members, we have decided to continue our protest and even to intensify it in the coming days. We have been planning a huge public gathering in the city so we could decide our next course of action,” said Nagar. City magistrate Bachu Singh has said they were “trying to have a settlement with Janhit Morcha” and doing their best to “end the protest end as soon as possible”.
Detailing the terms of the agreement of the flyway, a DND spokesperson Anwar Abbasi said: “DND’s Concession Agreement with the Noida authority for a period of 30 years, that is till 2031, is not unlike other National Highways Authority Of India or NHAI concessions. Such activities cause concern among investors about public money/investments in PPP projects and the infrastructure sector in the state/country.”