PMK seeks white paper from NHAI, threatens stir against toll fee hike in TN

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Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK), a constituent of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Tamil Nadu has sought a white paper from the NHAI and is mulling protests against the proposed hike in fee at toll plazas in the state.

The PMK founder leader Dr. S. Ramadoss in a statement on Saturday has called upon the NHAI to present a white paper on the cost incurred to set up toll plazas in Tamil Nadu as well as the fee collected from users.

Ramadoss said that the NHAI is planning to increase the toll fee by 8 per cent of the existing fee in 23 toll plazas of Tamil Nadu and called upon the NHAI authorities to first present a white paper on the expenses and profit and then only think about hiking the price.

The senior PMK leader said that the proposed hike is huge and that this would lead to a higher fee in transportation of goods and added that the result would be a higher price for essential commodities in the state.

Sources in the PMK told IANS that the party is planning to conduct a series of protest marches at the toll plazas in the state if a white paper is not presented as demanded by the party. The PMK is a strong political party in Northern Tamil Nadu and is the prominent political outfit of the Vanniyar community.

The statement of the PMK senior leader and the subsequent plans for protest marches has made the BJP leadership of Tamil Nadu to take note of the situation. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin had recently issued the Government Order for the 10.5 per cent reservation for the Vanniyar community within the Most Backward Caste (MBC) reservation in the state for educational institutions and jobs. While the previous AIADMK had passed the bill for 10.5 per cent reservation to the community, Stalin followed suit with the Government Order on the same.

This was seen by political observers as a move to provide a long rope to the PMK and the recent statements from the PMK leaders seems to be an indicator that they are not that hostile to the DMK as it was earlier.

–IANS

aal/dpb