The violence on Sunday at Paranur Toll plaza on the outskirts of Chennai has rendered the facility to remain non-functional for a third day in a row on Tuesday. With motorists zipping past without paying toll fee, the revenue loss reportedly amounted to lakhs. According to TOI, the loss in revenue could be at least Rs 70 lakh.
On Sunday, the toll plaza was vandalised following an exchange between the toll plaza staff members and crew members from a state-owned bus. The fight broke out when the staff members had reportedly asked the bus to pay the toll charges. According to reports, when the argument turned into an altercation, passengers, crew members from other buses and the public too jumped into the fight, vandalising the facility.
The toll plaza staff has lodged a complaint with the police claiming that Rs. 18 lakh was stolen from the counters in the plaza. CCTV footage is being checked to verify the claim. The police reportedly had to fire a round into the air to disperse the crowd. Five persons, including the driver, conductor, and a toll plaza staffer were arrested after the melee.
The Paranur toll is among the 13 toll plazas in Tamil Nadu that has been allowed extra time to allow an additional lane to accept cash payment. FASTags became mandatory from January 15 in all toll plazas in the country whereas these 13 tolls will be exempted until February 14. The Union Government had mandated FASTags on all vehicles which use toll plazas from December 1, 2019 with the intention to avoid long waiting lines in toll booths.
Just last week, a 55-year-old security guard on the outskirts of Chennai was beaten to death late on Thursday night even as he tried to foil a robbery attempt at a toll plaza. Venkatesan, the security guard, worked at an under-construction toll plaza on Outer Ring Road in Nemilichery near Avadi. When he was on duty on Thursday, a gang of thieves reportedly attempted to rob lorry drivers near the toll plaza.