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Aruna Rai
News and pictures by:  Hareesh Kumar Hejmady, 
Udupi District bandh against toll collection at Hejmadi toll plaza successful
Padubidri, February 13th, 2017:  After intensified protest and Udupi district bundh, the collection of toll charges for all vehicles bearing registration No. KA-20 and those with KA-19 within a radius of 5 kilometers from Hejmadi toll plaza will be exempted from toll charges at Hejmadi toll plaza till February 25th.  This was announced by Udupi Tahsildar after around one thousand protesters took to the streets followed by a number arrests and rearrests. 
In Hejmadi the protesters had gathered in the morning itself and had initiated the protests by obstructing the vehicular traffic.  Around 500 people had gathered to take a protest march from Padubidri to Hejmadi toll gate.  People started chanting slogans venting their anger towards the district administration for allowing collection of toll charges without completing the NH-66 widening work and without providing the service roads and other amenities at many places. 

Section 144 was in force in the district and as the police started making preparations to arrest the protesters, the protesters took to the streets and intesified their protest.  Hejmadi Grama Panchayat vice president Sudhakar Karkera was arrested and after the protesters surrounded the vehicle and demanded his release, he was released. 

As the protesters started obstructing the vehicular traffic, leader Gulam Mohammad and others were arrested and detained inside a bus. They were released as the protesters including women leaders Gitanjali Suvarna and Shilpa Suvarna blocked the bus raising slogans.  Hundreds of people had gathered near Padubidri Grama Panchayat office to take the protest march to Hejmadi toll gate.  The protesters demanded the presence of Deputy Commissioner for discussions.  When they were informed that the DC had gone to Bengaluru for government-level discussions with the highway authorities, the protesters agreed to have discussions with the Tahisildar Maheshchandra.
Dr. Deviprasad Shetty informed later that the tahsildar had discussions with the highway contractors Navyug Constructions and have waivered the toll charges for all KA-20 vehicles and KA-19 vehicles within the radius of 5 kilometers of Hejmady toll plazam till February 25th.

Dr. Deviprasad Shetty, Gulam Mohammad, former MLA Lalaji R. Mendon, former ZP president Katapadi Shankara Poojary, ZP members Shashikanth Padubidri, Gitanjali Suvarna, Shilpa Suvarna, Kaup Urban Development Authority chairman Diwakar Shetty, Taluk Panchayat members Neetha Gururaj, Renuka Puthran, Shekhabba, Grama Panchayat presidents Damayanti V. Amin (Padubidri), Jeethendra Furtado (Palimar), David D'Souza (Mudarangadi), Hejmadi Grama Panchayat vice president Sudhakar Karkera, Kaup Block Congress president Naveenchandra J. Shetty, Kaup Youth Congress president Vishwas V. Amin, Mulki Block Congress president Dhananjay Kotian Mattu, Udupi District Taximen's Association secretary Ramesh Kotian, Padubidri unit's president Ravi Shetty, Hareesh Nayak Kaup, Vasudeva Rao, Shivaprasad Shetty Elladadi, Sudheer Karkera Hejmadi, Hameed Kannangar, Mayyadi Kannangar, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike's Abdul Rehman, M.P. Moidinabba, Bajrand Dal Kaup convenor Rajesh Kotian, Ramanath Pai, Shashikanth Shetty, Padubidri Autorickshaw Union's Hareesh Shetty, Tempo Union's Hareesh Shetty Padebettu, Sudhakar Shetty Hejmadi, Abdul Aziz, Naveen N. Shetty, Lorry Union's Muistafa and others were present.