MNS determined to protest, government all set to handle
The Maharashtra government is all set to handle the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) anti-toll protest on Wednesday
MNS a rebellious entity had declared yesterday that they will go ahead with the protest despite police notice and warning, and will block traffic at national highways.
Major roads, highways, junctions and entry-exit points to important cities like Mumbai, Pune, Thane, Aurangabad and Nagpur and 145 toll collection booths across the state, including five in Mumbai are tightened with security personnel and other measures to prevent human casualties or damage to property.
MNS activists had vandalized several toll booths in Kolhapur, Thane, Mumbai, Aurangabad and Pune in near past to protest against the toll collection. This anti-toll agitation was kicked started when MNS chief Raj Thackeray urged people not to pay toll at a Navi Mumbai rally Jan 26.
He announced the statewide road blockade program in Pune, last Sunday.
The MNS has demanded that the toll collection should be stopped for projects where the costs have already been recovered and even in others, the rates should be rationalized.
The Home Minister RR Patil has made it clear that the government would not hesitate to arrest Thackeray to prevent any law and order issue.
In contrast, Nationalist Congress Party state president Bhaskar Jadhav has urged Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan to eliminate all toll collection on two-lane highways and bridges to offer relief to rural people.
State PWD Minister Chhagan Bhujbal urged Thackeray to settle the issue through negotiations instead of adopting an agitation.