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30 illegal gates operator held in Meghalaya
Correspondent WILLIAMNAGAR, JUL 16:
Published on 17 Jul. 2010 12:44 AM IST
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Thirty people operating illegal toll gates and 18 illegal toll gates were dismantled along the national highway 62 in Meghalaya, a government official said Friday.
“We have intensified a crackdown on all illegal toll gates. We arrested 30 people and 18 illegal toll gates dismantled and the crackdown will continue,” East Garo Hills District, Deputy Commissioner Pravin Bakshi said.
A truckers’ body had accused Chief Minister Mukul Sangma of abetting extortion along the national highway 62 through these illegal toll gates.
Sangma who flew to New Delhi Friday over the illegal toll gates issue rubbished the truckers’ allegations and said that the stand of the government on the illegal toll gates was zero tolerance and directives had been issued to district administrations to dismantle these toll gates.
‘We have taken action against these illegal toll gates and if there are still, the government will act accordingly,’ Sangma said.
The Chief Minister will meet Congress Supremo Sonia Gandhi to clear off the charges leveled against him by the truckers.
The All North East Commercial Truckers’ and Owners’ Association (ANECTOA) charged Sangma of abetting extortion on National Highway 62 after he allegedly requested them to come to an understanding with the operators of the illegal toll and check gates instead of demanding their removal.
According to the truckers’ body, there are more than 29 such illegal toll gates on the highway manned by armed people extorting over Rs. 6, 000 per truck trip. The National Highway 62 connecting Meghalaya’s East and South Garo Hills districts and West Khasi Hills district.
‘When we approached the chief minister to dismantle the illegal gates, we were shocked to hear from him saying ‘I cannot do anything to these illegal gates’ and suggested we come to an understanding with the operators of the illegal toll and check gates and settle them on monthly basis,’ ANECTOA general secretary Augustine Shanpru alleged.
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Sitaram Yechury Chairman of Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport assured the truckers that they would raise the issue in the forthcoming monsoon session of parliament.
Earlier, the ANECTOA asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P. Chidambaram, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi to direct the Meghalaya government to stop all the illegal check gates and initiate a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into it.

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