Motorists protest against levying of tax at toll plaza on Jammu-Srinagar highway in south Kashmir

Several motorists on Tuesday refused to pay tax at a newly-established toll plaza on Srinagar-Jammu national highway in Sangam area of south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, calling the move ‘harsh’.

Reports said that the toll plaza was made operational today at Sangam and every light-motor vehicle crossing it was charged Rs 85.

“This is outrageous. How can the government impose such a harsh order against the people?” a motorist was quoted as having said by local newsgathering agency GNS.

Another local from Ganderbal said, “We don’t earn as much as what is being charged. Having already banned civilian traffic on the highway by virtue of order on April 3, it seems that the authorities by imposing such harsh tax have decided to completely shut the highway for the civilians throughout the week.”

He said, “I fall beyond the limits, meaning thereby that I have to pay Rs 170 every day I move beyond Sangam and on return home.”

As people protested against paying the taxes and refused to pay, it led to traffic jam on the highway around the toll plaza, said the report.

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Khan said that he has taken up the issue with authorities in New Delhi. He said from now onwards people living within 20 kilometers radius of toll plaza will not have to pay tax.

“A formal notification in this regard will be issued soon,” the Divisional Commissioner was quoted as having said by the GNS.