Edited By: Oindrila Mukherjee
Last Updated: March 16, 2023, 22:23 IST
Protests against the central and state governments over incomplete work and high toll charges on the newly inaugurated Bengaluru-Mysuru expressway continued on Thursday, as JD(S) workers gathered in large numbers at the Kanaminike toll plaza. Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai downplayed the issues by calling it “politically motivated”.
Led by former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumaraswamy, JD(S) workers displayed a series of pictures of incomplete service roads and expressed their outrage against the ruling BJP government in the state.
Nikhil said the expressway was only for the rich and inaugurated in a hurry because of the upcoming assembly elections. “Honourable PM (Narendra Modi) came and opened the toll; they are collecting toll but the service road is not open yet and there are technical glitches. There are no primary healthcare centres, there’s no hospital or toilet for 120 km, which should have been opened according to rules set by the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India). The inauguration (of the expressway) is definitely politically motivated; it is still not ready. The toll is a big burden for the people of Karnataka. We are raising a voice on behalf of the people. They have made it clear that the road is only for the rich, it’s not for farmers or students but only for the rich. The CM and central government is answerable to people,” he told CNN-News18.
Bommai, meanwhile, said the issue was being politicised and people were not opposed to using the expressway. He also brought in the Congress and slammed state president DK Shivakumar.
“People are not opposing it; this is being politicised, especially by Karnataka Congress president DK Shivakumar; the language he uses, the way he behaves, it doesn’t look good on part of Kannadigas. There are service roads where toll is not being collected; this issue is being politicised for no reason at all,” the chief minister said.
The Congress, JD(S) and other organisations have been staging protests on the expressway over alleged toll fee collection and incomplete work, as well as lack of basic amenities like toilets, hospitals, absence of medical emergency services on the expressway.
The Bengaluru-Mysuru expressway, which is being seen as a massive infrastructure push by the BJP ahead of polls, was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
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