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National Highway blockade lifted after two-hour standoff in Panisagar

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BY TC News Desk

Agartala, September 5, 2023: In a dramatic turn of events, a two-hour-long blockade of the national highway adjacent to a petrol pump in the Chamtila area of Panisagar sub-division was successfully cleared on Tuesday after the intervention of local authorities. This standstill, initiated by distressed cargo vehicle drivers, brought traffic to a grinding halt in the region during the Durga Puja festival season.

Cargo vehicles, particularly medium and large ones, had been burdened with exorbitant toll charges during this festive period. Drivers reported instances of harassment, where goods were impounded until additional fees were paid. Many clubs, operating late into the night, were suspected of extorting extra fees from freight carriers. Drivers also claimed that, despite possessing proper documentation, they were coerced by various police stations to pay extra money.

In a show of frustration and desperation, drivers took to the national highway adjacent to the Chamtila petrol pump, initiating a blockade at 10 am on Tuesday. They made it clear that they would only lift the blockade if the administration could guarantee their safety.

The situation escalated as thousands of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the national highway for two hours. Panisagar SDPO Soumya Debbarma and DCM Gobinda Debbarma arrived on the scene around 12 o’clock, attempting to negotiate with the protesters. Their assurance paved the way for the resolution of the crisis.

The blockade was eventually lifted following a tripartite meeting involving vehicle drivers, administration officials, and representatives of various clubs. In this crucial discussion, plans were made on how tolls should be collected by clubs without subjecting vehicle drivers to harassment. The drivers emphasized that they were sometimes compelled to pay more money to clubs and certain police stations than they earned from transporting goods. This ongoing issue had made the transportation of goods through the national highway an arduous endeavour.

Seeking a concrete commitment from both the administration and the state government, vehicle drivers are hopeful that this meeting will bring about lasting solutions to their grievances, ensuring smoother operations during the festive season and beyond. The resolution of this blockade signifies a crucial step towards resolving the ongoing toll-related issues in the region.

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