Odisha govt’s promise of no toll tax at Pipili falls flat

Bhubaneswar: Even after the Odisha government’s announcement that no tax will be collected at Pipili toll gate on the days of Gundicha Yatra, Bahuda Yatra and Suna Besha of Lord Jagannath, devotees travelling to Puri had to pay tax which has led to resentment among them.

The toll gate officials at Pipili alleged that they did not receive any direction from higher authorities about the decision which is why they collected tax.

“The Odisha government might have announced free movement of vehicles, however, I did not get any letter or information from the concerned higher officials in this regard,” said Chief General Manager cum Regional Officer of NHAI, Bhubaneswar, Ram Prasad Panda.

Speaking on the matter, Odisha Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said, “We had already decided not to collect tax at the toll gate till the Bahuda Yatra. I will personally look into the matter.”

On June 28, Chief Administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), Pradipta Mohapatra had announced that no tax will be collected at the Pipili toll gate during Gundicha Yatra, Bahuda Yatra and Suna Besha of Lord Jagannath and his siblings in view of massive congregation. The decision in this regard was taken during the last Rath Yatra coordination meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Puri.