Contractors refuse to accept demand to exempt toll for local people at Panniyankara

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Thrissur: The local demand for exempting Vadakkanchery, Kizhakkenchery, Kannambra, Puthucode, Vandoor and Pananchery panchayat from the toll collection at Panniyankara Toll Plaza has not yielded results even after a discussion held in Thiruvananthapuram. The toll collection started two and a half years ago.

The discussion with the contract company was attended by Ministers M B Rajesh, K Rajan, K Krishnankutty, R Bindu, and MLAs K D Prasenan and P P Sumod. The presidents of the panchayats demanding exemption from toll collection also participated. There has been widespread public protest against toll demanded from people of the locality.

The government proposed free travel for residents, but the company contracted to collect tolls rejected it, instead offering to reduce the monthly rate for residents from Rs 340 to Rs 300. The panchayat presidents, MLAs, and ministers opposed this. Another round of discussion will be held later in Thrissur.

The Thrissur Expressway, owned by KMC Company, which constructed the road from Mannuthy in Thrissur district to Vadakkanchery in Palakkad district on the national highway, started the toll collection at Panniyankara.

Last November, the Thrissur Expressway was taken over by Sekura, a Mumbai-based company. Currently, Panniyankara has the highest toll rates in the state. The toll rate for cars, jeeps, vans, and other small motor vehicles is Rs 110, and if there is a return journey on the same day, the rate is Rs 160. For goods lorries, tourist buses, and other heavy vehicles, the rate is Rs 350 for one-way and Rs 520 for a return journey.

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