Sand mafia gangs operate across India and there have been multiple times when the authorities have faced these gangs in the past. In a shocking incident from Agra, Uttar Pradesh, 13 sand-laden tractors went one after another after breaking the toll barricade. The video has now become viral on the Internet.
In UP’s Agra, tractors laden with sand, most likely belonging to local sand mafia, storm the toll booth and pass through as booth workers try to stop them using sticks. In the 53 sec video, 13 tractors can be seen recklessly speeding through the toll plaza. pic.twitter.com/gOI1ByGpuy
— Piyush Rai (@Benarasiyaa) September 4, 2022
The incident happened early in the morning according to the CCTV timestamp. It shows that at around 4:55 AM, a tractor broke the automatic barrier of the toll by driving through the lane at a high speed. Following the first tractor, a convoy of 12 more tractors passed through the same lane.
The toll operators, who were standing with sticks in their hands could not do much except for trying to hit the tractor drivers when they were passing through. However, none of the tractors stopped or showed any intention of slowing down and paying the toll before moving ahead.
This is the Jaju Toll Plaza on the Agra Gwalior Highway. The tractors were returning from Gwalior and were going towards Agra when the incident happened. With illegal mining on the rise on the Rajasthan-Uttar Pradesh border, such incidents have rather become quite common.
The police have started an investigation after taking cognisance of the matter. It is highly unlikely that any of these tractors came with legal registration. However, the police may scan more CCTV footage to identify this tractor and its owners.
Toll tax in India
This is not the first time someone breaking the boom barrier of a tollgate. In the past, we have seen many leaders and politicians doing the same without any care or worry. In many incidents, politicians and people in power refuse to pay the toll charges. Many incidents have involved shootouts and fist fights too.
Toll tax barriers on highways create massive jams and increase travel time significantly. While the general public has to pay the toll tax, a few people are exempt from paying tax. Such people include the President of India, Prime Minister of India, Chief Justice of India and a few people in senior official posts who are allowed to pass the toll without any stoppages.
Toll tax is collected by contractors for maintenance of the road condition of the highway, providing basic infrastructures like toilets on the way and emergency services. Interestingly, Nitin Gadkari recently said that toll tax will never stop being levied on Indian roads. However, the government has made the Fast Tag mandatory for all new cars sold in India, which decreases the waiting time at toll plazas.
New toll collection system coming soon
Gadkari has confirmed that the government is moving ahead in the transition of the new method of toll tax collection by vehicle drivers, which is an advancement over the current Fastag method. For toll tax collection, the ministry is charting out a plan for relying on automatic number plate reader cameras. According to Gadkari, these cameras will be able to read the number plates of the vehicles and automatically deduct toll amounts from the car driver’s authorized and linked bank account.