Lorry drivers clash with toll workers over 'excess' demand

A clash between lorry drivers and toll office workers over alleged demand of excess toll led to ransacking of the office and blockade of a key road for about three hours in this headquarter town of Burdwan district, administration sources said.

The incident occurred at Sadarghat locality when workers of the toll office allegedly beat up lorry driver Sheikh Sirajul, a local resident, for refusing to pay excess toll.

His left hand was broken due to the assault.

Following this, other drivers put up a blockade at the Burdwan-Arambagh Road using their lorries, the sources said.

A clash followed after local people joined the drivers and the toll workers fled and the office was ransacked.

Locals alleged that though toll was collected by the PWD since 1977, the condition of the road was pathetic leading to frequent accidents and the toll office became a den of anti-social activities in the evening.

It took three hours for the police and the Rapid Action Force personnel to control the situation.

District Magistrate Omkar Singh Meena said both the assault of the lorry driver and ransacking of the toll office were not right.

The police were asked to investigate.

Toll officer Anjan Mukherjee, who is also RSP district secretary, said the incident occurred as a lorry driver was not willing to pay the toll.

Meanwhile, a senior district official said a vigilance probe was on against Mukherjee as there was allegation that toll was being collected against locally printed bills and the money did not reach the government.

Due to this, a proposal to close down the toll office had been sent to the government from the district administration about two years ago, but no action was taken, the official said.

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