The Delhi-Agra expressway, aka the Yamuna expressway, is one of the best national highways in India. It connects Agra to Greater Noida and has cut short the distance between the two cities by a significant amount. Now though, it is in news due to an incident that happened there on Wednesday. According to a report by TOI, a local BJP leader and his supporters thrashed toll plaza workers at the Jewar toll plaza on the Yamuna Expressway on Wednesday evening.
The politician was travelling in a Mahindra Scorpio while a Toyota Fortuner was leading at the front. The politician, Sanjeev Sharma, allegedly got angry when the toll booth staff asked him to pay the toll. According to the toll supervisor, he then got off his Scorpio and assaulted three staff members. The video below by Dainik Jagran shows the whole matter which was caught on a CCTV camera at the plaza.
The CCTV clip of the incident later went viral on social media and was shared numerous times. According to the report, Sanjeev Sharma is BJP’s block president in Jewar and was travelling with BJP’s district president, Vijay Bhati, at the time this incident took place. However, the FIR has been registered only against Sharma under section 506 (criminal Intimidation), 504 (insult) and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt). The toll plaza supervisor filed a complaint later on which stated that there were two security guards and one official at the counter when the incident took place. The complaint read:
“The two cars (a Mahindra Scorpio and a Toyota Fortuner) arrived and the occupants Sanjeev Sharma and Vijay Bhati said they needed a free passage for which the toll collector Kuldeep asked them to wait till he got confirmation,”
Now since the NHAI rules didn’t allow a free passage to anyone except you are in the list of the specified dignitaries, an argument broke out as Bhati and Sharma were not ready to pay the toll charges. later on, the supervisor intervened and allowed the two vehicles to pass. However, he adds that the politicians stopped their SUVs and came back running to the toll official’s cabin and assaulted the workers, kicking and punched him while at it.
Going by NHAI toll fee rules, only the vehicles transporting and officially accompanying the 25 dignitaries are exempted from paying the toll charges. This includes the President, Prime Minister, chief justices of Supreme Court and high courts, Union ministers, chief ministers, judges of SC and HCs, defence chiefs and MPs. When on official use, vehicles of defence and paramilitary forces, police and executive magistrates are also allowed to go free. Ambulance and funeral vehicles are also exempted from paying toll. Such incidents are not new in our country but the upcoming mandate to make FastTags compulsory could help curb issues like this.