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Odishatv Bureau

Sambalpur: The protests over the collection of toll taxes on the recently-inaugurated Sambalpur-Rourkela Biju Expressway has intensified with locals staging road blockade near Pradhanpali village in Sambalpur district on Sunday.

The locals have demanded toll exemption for the vehicles bearing registration number of Sambalpur.

Hundreds of vehicles are stranded on both sides of the road due to the road blockade. Adequate police force has also been deployed at the spot to maintain law and order and prevent any untoward incident.

The expressway ,which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on March 12, has been constructed under Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode with the state government bearing 36 percent project cost while L&T paid 64 percent of the funds.

The executing agency, L&T has decided to collect nearly Rs 50 lakh rupees per day from the three toll gates for the next 19 years.

In another incident, the Rourkela Mining Area Truck and Tipper Owners’ Association (RMATTOA) had also staged a road blockade at Laing toll gate near Rajgangpur of Sundergarh district.

The agitation lasted for nearly nine hours and hundreds of vehicles were stranded on the road till the last reports came in.

The RMATTOA is protesting the collection of toll tax from vehicles bearing registration number issued by Regional Transport Office (RTO) Rourkela while the district administration has exempted vehicles registered with Sundargarh district.

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