Satyanarayana, a toll collector, was merely doing his job when he stopped a car at the Vempadu toll plaza in Visakhapatnam district, on National Highway 16, on the evening of Thursday, November 4. The men traveling in the car, one of them an elected local body leader from the YSRCP, refused to pay. As Satyanarayana insisted on collecting the toll fees, the argument escalated. CCTV footage of the incident showed the men getting out of the car and attacking the toll plaza worker, who suffered a head injury after being beaten up. Three men have been booked by the Visakhapatnam Rural police over the attack, including Payakaraopeta ZPTC (Zilla Parishad Territorial Constituency) member L Suryanarayana.
According to Nakkapalli SHO, the men traveling in the car refused to pay the toll fees saying they were locally influential. While police claimed that the political affiliation of the accused was not mentioned in the complaint, according to reports, they had acted in a high-handed manner, refusing to pay toll fees claiming they were entitled to do so as Suryanarayana was a ZPTC member. Along with Suryanarayana, police have booked two others, D Nanaji and J Srinu, under sections 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 324 (Voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means) of the Indian Penal Code. Police said the toll collector Satyanarayana’s condition is stable.
In a similar incident in December 2020, another YSRCP leader was caught on camera physically assaulting a toll booth employee. Devalla Revathi, the chairperson of Vaddera Corporation, was seen assaulting a worker at the Kaza toll plaza in Guntur for demanding toll tax. She was seen grabbing the employee by the collar and slapping him. At the same toll booth back in 2018, TDP leader Chintamaneni Prabhakar who was an MLA at the time created a ruckus over being asked to pay the toll. While MLAs, MPs, and other dignitaries are exempted from paying toll fees, Prabhakar was not using his official vehicle at that time, causing confusion. Prabhakar then left his car at the toll plaza causing inconvenience to others, escalated the matter to NHAI (National Highway Authorities of India), and forced the toll plaza staff to apologise to him.