12-hour Sundergarh band over toll collection on new Biju Expressway

Sundergarh: Protest against the toll collection on new Biju Expressway, a 12-hour called band has been called by the Sundergarh Nagarika Manch on Saturday.

Locals are protesting collection of toll taxes on the recently-inaugurated Sambalpur-Rourkela Biju Expressway by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The locals argued that they have been paying road tax for the expressway formerly known as National Highway 10 for around 17 years and it would be tough on their part to pay more taxes.

While vehicles stayed off the roads, shops and other business establishments remained closed during the bandh.

“Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also stated during a meeting at Jharsuguda that the State Government was bearing the entire cost of the expressway. Then what should we pay now,” rued Sundergarh Nagarika Mancha president Ashok Kumar Das.

On March 12, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated Sambalpur-Rourkela section of the ambitious road project Biju Expressway.

Patnaik dedicated the Rs 1,292.56 crore project to the people of the State at a special function to be held at Jharsuguda. The four laning of Sambalpur-Rourkela section of SH-10, covering a length of 162 km, is one of the longest stretch of 650 km long Biju Expressway.

The project has been executed on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode by L&T Sambalpur Rourkela Tollway Limited (L&T SRTL).

Biju Expressway project, being implemented by Works Department, will be the life line of western Odisha and accelerate the development. The project aims at connecting four districts of western Odisha like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, and Sundergarh with four KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) districts namely Koraput, Nawrangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada.

The expressway will also connect many border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Boriguma, Nawrangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundergarh, and Rourkela.

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