Friday, December 7, 2012

DND spared chaos as Bharatiya Kisan Union withdraws protest


Sorce .times of india

DND spared chaos as Bharatiya Kisan Union withdraws protest

Ayesha Arvind, TNN Dec 7, 2012, 01.38AM IST
NOIDA: In an important breakthrough, the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) has decided to call off its protests on the DND Flyway scheduled for Friday. Arriving at a settlement with the state government and NHAI, senior BKU leaders have decided to just assemble at the city magistrate's office in Noida on Friday noon and meet the Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate and SSP as well as the toll plaza authorities without disrupting any traffic movement.
The farmers arrived at an agreement after senior farmer leaders, led by BKU general secretary Rakesh Tikait, met the district magistrate and SSP (Meerut) on Thursday. The Meerut DM and SSP forwarded chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's letter assuring farmers that all their grievances will soon be sorted out.
"In view of the agreement reached with the state, we have decided to call off our planned stir on the DND. We will not take over the DND Flyway on Friday and make no attempts to make travel toll free. We will simply meet the administration and toll authorities to discuss our issues with them," said Ajay Pal Sharma, senior BKU leader.
The Gautam Budh Nagar district administration, which had earlier decided to impose Section 144 of the CrPC prohibiting an assembly of more than five people in any area across the district, has decided to impose it only on Friday, December 7, "as a precautionary measure," said DM MKS Sundaram.
Sundaram has also sent a formal intimation to the Noida Toll Bridge Company Ltd of the agreement with the farmers and has asked them to visit the city magistrate's office at 12pm on Friday for the meeting with the farmers.
"The farmers have agreed to meet us and talk things out following their agreement in Meerut. The meeting has been scheduled for Friday noon. However, the administration will not let its guard down and will ensure that residents of Noida, commuters on the DND as well as the toll plaza staff are not affected in any way due to the farmers' meeting," Sundaram said.
The BKU farmers have also decided to meet chief minister Akhilesh Yadav on December 13. "The CM has assured us through the letter that all our grievances will be sorted out. The letter informs us that NHAI has withdrawn all the arbitration cases lodged against farmers after we took over various toll plazas and made travel toll free. The CM has also said that Rs 200 crore will be released within a week towards the pending compensation of farmers," said Rakesh Tikait.
"We have also asked the state authorities to review the existing toll collection policy valid across UP and investigate the scam in toll collection and its entry into the books at Dasna toll plaza," Tikait said.
BKU farmers had forced the DND authorities to roll back the toll hike on November 17 and had demanded that return of the toll collected between November 9 and 17, during which the hike was in force on the flyway.

Monday, December 3, 2012

BKU ‘toll-free’ movement to prove costly for UP


BKU ‘toll-free’ movement to prove costly for UP
Peeyush Khandelwal and S.Raju, Hindustan Times
Ghaziabad, December 04, 2012
First Published: 00:46 IST(4/12/2012)
Last Updated: 00:49 IST(4/12/2012)
The Bhartiya Kisan Union's (BKU) month-old “toll free” movement is going to cost the Uttar Pradesh government dear. A month ago, the activists had captured the toll barrier of Western UP Tollway Ltd on National Highway 58 and declared it “free” for commuters. Thousands of vehicles have 
been plying without payment, causing an approximate loss of Rs. 25 lakh every day.
On Monday, vehicles passing through the Dasna toll plaza on National Highway-24 continued to enjoy a free ride for the second consecutive day as the talks between BKU representatives and the Ghaziabad administration failed.
Motorists had a toll-free ride on the 32-km stretch of the highway from Sunday after BKU activists stopped toll collection at the Dasna toll plaza. The activists staged a protest as mark of support to their leader Rakesh Tikait, who has been leading another protest against toll collection at Daurala on NH-58 in Meerut district for the past one month.
Earlier, Tikait visited Ghaziabad and presented a fresh memorandum of demands to the government officials on Monday. “The district administration and the national highway authority should present us the revenue documents pertaining to the Dasna toll plaza. The officials are concealing the actual amount of toll collected at the plaza,” Tikait said, adding that the union will intensify its stir in coming days if their demands are not met.
BKU alleged that the Dasna toll plaza was constructed illegally. The union said that the toll plaza should have been constructed 10km away from the municipal area. The union also demanded toll-free run at Dasna till a compromise was reached for the other toll gate at Meerut, the epicentre of the agitation.
“This is a nation-wide stir to free all toll plazas. We will move to DND on December 7. More agitation can be expected in other NCR areas. We also want 12 subsidised LPG cylinders in a year,” Tikait said.
Threatening that the agitation will continue till March, 2013, Tikait said that if any of his activists was removed from Dasna, other toll gates in the state will bear the brunt within two hours.
There are eight collection booths at the Dasna toll plaza. According to officials of the NHAI, it would suffer losses up to Rs, 4 lakh per day if the agitation continues.

3 DEC, 2012, 08.26AM IST, DIPAK KUMAR DASH & PURUSHARTH ARADHAK,TNN Farmers’ body threatens to take over UP toll plazas


Farmers' body warned of taking over all highway toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh if the government and NHAI do not allow free passage of tractor-trolleys.
Farmers' body warned of taking over all highway toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh if the government and NHAI do not allow free passage of tractor-trolleys.
NEW DELHI/GHAZIABAD: Highway modernization is facing a new threat, this time from Bharat Kisan Union(BKU), with the farmers' body warning of taking over all highway toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh if the governmentand NHAI do not allow free passage of tractor-trolleys and vehicles of people living in a 10-km radius of a tolling point.

A day after its top leaders held a long meeting with NHAI officials to resolve several issues, BKU activists on Saturday took over a toll plaza near Garh Mukteshwar on NH-24 for several hours and removed barriers of the toll plaza on NH-58 (Daurala) close to Meerut for the second time. On Sunday, over hundred farmers had laid siege to the Dasna toll plaza. The organization has announced that it will take over a toll plaza near Saharanpur on Monday. The stir may hit the DND Flyway, which connects Delhi and Noida, on Friday.

"For some hours, the NHAI contractor had started tolling on NH-58 on Friday, but we soon took control over the plaza. The protest will spread to other stretches in UP and also in other states," BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said.

The BKU may have ambitiously announced plans to take over toll plazas across UP but the outfit's tactics may be successful only in the western part of the state, where it commands some influence.

On Sunday, agitating farmers reached the Dasna toll plaza around 9.30 am and threw open the toll gates for at least two-and-a-half hours. They again took over the plaza allowing vehicles free passage till late night. "There is no service road, which forces local commuters to pay and cross the toll plaza," Rajveer Singh, BKU's Meerut zone president, said.

BKU has also threatened to re-launch its stir from December 7 on DND Flyway to make the stretch toll free, accusing the district administration and the DND operator of failing to meet their demand. They also want the extra toll that the DND operator had collected between November 9 and 17 to be handed over to the district magistrate so that the amount can be given for charity or to a 'gaushala'. After increasing the toll to Rs 25, it was rolled back to Rs 22 after BKU launched a protest.

There are also reports of the BKU taking over Itaunja and Atariya toll plazas in the next few days and the agitation moving to Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao and Lucknow districts. BKU seems to be using the standoff to gain greater support before the next general election and there are indications of protesters continuing with their agitation till that time. The organization's top leaders are likely to decide which other toll plazas would be targeted.

Tikait added that the fight was not just for farmers' vehicles, but against the wrong policy of government that allows toll operators to charge "hefty" user fee from locals who take highway for 5-10 km. "We will continue the protest against the present practice as NHAI has told us that change in norms is possible only when there is legislation. They are doing nothing despite stretches reporting high number of fatalities," the farmers' leader added. 




The Bharatiya Kisan Union protested at NH-24 on Sunday

bku toll free movment brajghat










Sunday, December 2, 2012

UP farmers’ stir may take toll on highway projects


UP farmers’ stir may take toll on highway projects

Agitation Set To Hit DND On Friday

Dipak Kumar Dash & Purusharth Aradhak TNN 


New Delhi/Ghaziabad: 
Highway modernization is facing a new threat, this time from the Bharat Kisan Union (BKU) which has warned of taking over all highway toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh if the gov
ernment and highways authority do not allow free passage to tractor-trolleys and vehicles of people living in a 10-km radius of the tolling points. 
    On Saturday, BKU activists took over a toll plaza near Garh Mukteshwar on NH-24 for several hours and removed barriers of the toll 
plaza on NH-58 (Daurala) near Meerut for the second time. On Sunday, 100-odd farmers laid siege to the Dasna toll plaza. The BKU said it would take over a toll plaza near Saharanpur on Monday. The stir may hit the DND Flyway, linking Delhi and Noida, on Friday. Standoff may continue till 2014 
The protests began on Friday even as top BKU leaders held a long meeting with officials of the National Highways Authority of India to resolve several issues. “For some hours, the NHAI contractor had started tolling on NH-58 on Friday, but we soon took control over the plaza. The protest will spread across UP and in other states,” BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said. 
    The BKU may have ambitiously announced plans to take over toll plazas across UP but the outfit’s tactics may be successful only in the western part of the state, where it commands some influence. On Sunday, agitating farmers reached the Dasna toll plaza around 9.30am and threw open the toll gates for at least twoand-a-half hours. They again took over the plaza later, allowing vehicles free passage till late night. “There is no service road, which forces local commuters to pay and cross the toll 
plaza,” Rajveer Singh, BKU’s Meerut zone president, said. 
    The BKU has also threatened to re-launch its stir from December 7 on the DND Flyway to make the stretch tollfree, accusing the district administration and the DND operator of failing to meet their 
demands. They also want the extra toll that the DND operator had collected between November 9 and 17 to be handed over to the district magistrate so the amount can be given for charity or to a ‘gaushala’. After increasing the toll to Rs 25, it was rolled back to Rs 22 after the BKU launched a protest. 
    There are also reports of the BKU taking over Itaunja and Atariya toll plazas in the next few days and the agitation moving to Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao and Lucknow districts. The BKU seems to be using the standoff to gain greater support before the next general election and there are indications of protesters continuing with their agitation till that time. The organization’s top leaders are likely to decide which other toll plazas will be 
targeted. Tikait said the fight was not just for farmers’ vehicles, but against the “wrong policy” of the government that allows toll operators to charge hefty user fee from locals who use the highway for 5-10 km. “We will continue the protest against the present practice as NHAI told us that change in norms is possible only when there is legislation. They are doing nothing despite stretches reporting high number of fatalities,” he added. 
    When the highway projects were started, under-passes were a common sight, aimed at helping locals cross over to the other side without paying toll. But several new stretches either do not have the facility or are so far apart that people are forced to take the highway. The BKU is demanding a policy 
that provides free passage and special discount for vehicles owned by people living close to the toll plazas. For example, they want identification of a second zone — 20km around toll plazas — and vehicles from this region should get substantial discount. “We will not allow NHAI to charge hefty toll from people for crossing a plaza daily since they live in that area. They are also allowing contractors to charge toll for stretches which are still not complete,” a BKU leader said. 
    NHAI officials said they had called a meeting of BKU leaders and district magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Meerut on Friday. They added the representatives were unreasonable in demanding free passage for local vehicles. “Even at present, the user charge for these (local) vehicles is only one-fourth of the normal fee. We have told them we will talk to the concessionaires,” an official said. He 
added that the NHAI had agreed to build foot overbridges and underpasses on NH-58 as sought by the BKU representatives. NHAI is worried about the results of BKU activists opening toll barriers as the contractors would send in bills of their revenue loss. 
    (With inputs from Ayesha Arvind)


The Bharatiya Kisan Union protested at NH-24 on Sunday

Farmers’ body threatens to take over UP toll plazas


Farmers’ body threatens to take over UP toll plazas

Farmers’ body threatens to take over UP toll plazas
Uttar Pradesh farmers are demanding that the government and NHAI allow free passage of tractor-trolleys and vehicles of people living in a 10-km radius of a tolling point.
NEW DELHI/GHAZIABAD: Highway modernization is facing a new threat, this time from Bharat Kisan Union (BKU), with the farmers' body warning of taking over all highway toll plazas in Uttar Pradesh if the government and NHAI do not allow free passage of tractor-trolleys and vehicles of people living in a 10-km radius of a tolling point. 

A day after its top leaders held a long meeting with NHAI officials to resolve several issues, BKU activists on Saturday took over a toll plaza near Garh Mukteshwar on NH-24 for several hours and removed barriers of the toll plaza on NH-58 (Daurala) close to Meerut for the second time. On Sunday, over hundred farmers had laid siege to the Dasna toll plaza. The organization has announced that it will take over a toll plaza near Saharanpur on Monday. The stir may hit the DND Flyway, which connects Delhi and Noida, on Friday. 

"For some hours, the NHAI contractor had started tolling on NH-58 on Friday, but we soon took control over the plaza. The protest will spread to other stretches in UP and also in other states," BKU spokesperson Rakesh Tikait said. 

The BKU may have ambitiously announced plans to take over toll plazas across UP but the outfit's tactics may be successful only in the western part of the state, where it commands some influence. 

On Sunday, agitating farmers reached the Dasna toll plaza around 9.30 am and threw open the toll gates for at least two-and-a-half hours. They again took over the plaza allowing vehicles free passage till late night. "There is no service road, which forces local commuters to pay and cross the toll plaza," Rajveer Singh, BKU's Meerut zone president, said. 

BKU has also threatened to re-launch its stir from December 7 on DND Flyway to make the stretch toll free, accusing the district administration and the DND operator of failing to meet their demand. They also want the extra toll that the DND operator had collected between November 9 and 17 to be handed over to the district magistrate so that the amount can be given for charity or to a 'gaushala'. After increasing the toll to Rs 25, it was rolled back to Rs 22 after BKU launched a protest. 

There are also reports of the BKU taking over Itaunja and Atariya toll plazas in the next few days and the agitation moving to Sitapur, Hardoi, Unnao and Lucknow districts. BKU seems to be using the standoff to gain greater support before the next general election and there are indications of protesters continuing with their agitation till that time. The organization's top leaders are likely to decide which other toll plazas would be targeted. 

Tikait added that the fight was not just for farmers' vehicles, but against the wrong policy of government that allows toll operators to charge "hefty" user fee from locals who take highway for 5-10 km. "We will continue the protest against the present practice as NHAI has told us that change in norms is possible only when there is legislation. They are doing nothing despite stretches reporting high number of fatalities," the farmers' leader added. 

When the highway projects were started, under-passes were a common sight aimed at helping locals cross over to the other side and avoiding payment of toll. But several new stretches either do not have the facility or they are so far apart that people are forced to take the highway. 

BKU is demanding a policy that provides free passage and special discount for vehicles owned by people living close to the toll plazas. For example, they want identification of a second zone - 20-km around toll plazas - and vehicles from this region should get substantial discount. "We will not allow NHAI to charge hefty toll from people for crossing a plaza daily since they live in that area. They are also allowing contractors to charge toll for stretches which are still not complete," BKU leaders said. 

Senior NHAI officials said they had called a meeting of BKU leaders and district magistrates of Muzaffarnagar and Meerut on Friday. They added the representatives were unreasonable in demanding free passage for local vehicles. "Even at present, the user charge for these vehicles is only one-fourth of the normal fee. We have told them we will talk to the concessionaires and find what can be done since every project is run as per provisions of agreements," an official said. 

He added NHAI had agreed to build foot over-bridges and underpasses on NH-58 as put forward by the BKU representatives. "We have also told them that the release on compensation for land acquisition has been expedited. NHAI cannot take a decision on reducing toll or free passage. It can be a political decision and for all states, not just for UP," NHAI officials said. 

Meanwhile, the highway authority is worried of the consequences of the BKU activists throwing open toll barriers for free ride since the contractors would send bills of their revenue loss to NHAI and the authority has to compensate. 

(With inputs from Ayesha Arvind)

Thursday, November 22, 2012