Mysore, May 4 - Following the report about arbitrary toll collection atop Chamundi Hill published in Star of Mysore yesterday, the Chamundi Hill Gram Panchayat (GP) President Nagamma and Secretary Basavaraju have issued a clarification.

"Toll from vehicles coming to the Hill Temple is being collected as per the open auction of the toll collection rights for the year 2010-11. A decision to this effect was taken at the emergency meeting of the GP on March 15," said GP President Nagamma in her statement.

The GP's decision pertaining to the vehicles toll collection taken during a meeting held on Mar.15, 2010 is as follows:

"The auction for toll collection for the financial year 2010-11 was held on March 31, 2010. There were five bidders in the auction process, the contract being ultimately bagged by a local named Krishna Kumar for a total sum of Rs. 47,04,100. As per the agreement, the bidder has to deposit 50 per cent of the amount before April 6, 2010 and the remaining 50 per cent before Apr. 30, 2010. The agreement specifies that toll should not be collected from government vehicles and from vehicles belonging to residents of the villages coming under the GP.

It was also agreed upon to collect toll from vehicles plying from the check-post towards the Nandi statue, from the vehicles taking a U-turn from near the check-post, vehicles parked near the View Point and from the vehicles going to the Hill."

Editor's note: Whatever decision the Chamundi Hill GP might have taken with regard to the toll collection, it is essential that certain changes are incorporated in the interest of the tourists and the devotees visiting the Hill Temple.

Looks like this is the only city in the world where a motorist has to pay money for taking a U-turn at the indicated place on a public road.

In case the GP chooses to stick to its decision, then those who do not wish to drive further than the check-post and intend to return from the check-post, must be facilitated to do so by removing the barricade and allowing them to return. Collecting toll from the tourists under the pretext of 'one-way road' at the junction is like trapping drivers in a mouse-trap and is unethical and unacceptable. The GP needs to give a serious thought to this issue.

Moreover, holding the public auction worth nearly Rs. 50 lakh on the last day of the financial year (Mar. 31, 2010) itself is suspect.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore