In a U-turn from its earlier stand, the BJP on Wednesday said the setting up of toll plazas on the Kathua-Jammu-Srinagar national highways is necessary for development.
When the BJP was in the Opposition in Jammu and Kashmir, it had objected to the then state government’s move to set up a toll plaza at Lakhanpur and compared it to the collection of “jazia’’ from Vaishno Devi pilgrims on the way to Katra.
BJP workers led by party leader Chander Parkash Ganga had in May 2014 dismantled the structure of a toll plaza coming up at Sarore in Samba district.
BJP spokesperson Brig. (retired) Anil Gupta said” “The longest National Highway (NH 44) that connects Kanyakumari to Kashmir and enters Jammu and Kashmir at Lakhanpur has a number of toll plazas along its stretch and anybody travelling by road to J&K has to pay toll tax at these plazas. To say that ‘jazia’ is being imposed by starting toll plaza at Lakhanpur is not only false but ethically also incorrect.’’
The BJP leader said earnings from the toll plazas will be utilised for maintenance of the highway. “No amount of politics or agitations will uproot these toll plazas,’’ Gupta said, adding, “they are here to stay and new ones will come up in those stretches of NH as and when four- laning is completed’’.
Jammu gots its first toll plaza on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway near Nagrota in 2015. In 2018, another toll plaza came up at Sarore, where BJP workers had dismantled the structure four years ago. The third toll plaza came up at Lakhanpur on July 21.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines