OMR residents write to Chief Minister calling for closure of Navalur toll plaza

Residents of OMR have called for closure of Navalur toll plaza citing traffic congestion, high toll and contravention of NHAI rules.

Residents of OMR have written to the Chief Minister calling for the removal of the toll gate at Navalur. Citing a promise made by the DMK prior to the elections, residents demand that the toll gate, which is close to the limits of the Greater Chennai Corporation be shut down with immediate effect.

The residents, through the umbrella body FOMRRA (Federation of OMR Resident Associations), have made an appeal to this effect. The residents state that while four out of five toll gates have been shut down, the one at Navalur remains functional.

FOMRRA has also requested the support of other Residents’ Welfare Associations in the city in reiterating their appeal.

The appeal by OMR residents to the Chief Minister is as follows:

We are writing to you on behalf of the FOMRRA, representing the interests of over 150 apartment associations, with over 40,000 homes and 3,00,000 citizens who live around OMR – requesting the removal of the toll gate operated by TNRDC at Navalur, OMR.

Commitment to the people of OMR

This request is in line with the protest, organized by DMK party members in December 2020, which witnessed the participation of thousands of concerned citizens from OMR, making the hashtag #Dont_Want_Tollgate viral.

Our elected representatives, including MP Ms Tamizhachi Thangapandian, and MLA Mr Aravind Ramesh, were also present at the protest.

Your good self had also said that the protest manifested people’s anger. “It will continue till they (all the toll gates) are removed.”

Read more: Walking in Koyambedu, OMR or Chennai Central? Be cautious, warns study

Partial relief for OMR residents in 2021

The residents of OMR did get some partial relief when 4 of the 5 gates were finally closed in August 2021. The highways minister, Mr. E V Velu, had announced this citing the start of the construction work by Metro Rail as a reason. On this occasion, our MLA, Mr. Aravind Ramesh, also stated that this fulfilled one of the DMK’s election promises.

toll plaza omr
Four out of five toll gates have been shut down. Pic: Srikanth/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY:SA 3.0)

However, the 5th gate at Navalur continued to function. Officials told us that this gate, too, would be closed when the Metro Rail construction work intensified in the southern part of OMR. Why is there this disparity in the approach to the northern and southern parts of OMR?

Construction, traffic jams, the highest toll rate

With the metro rail construction progressing in the southern half of OMR (between Sholinganallur and Navalur), the road has been reduced to just 2 lanes on each side, causing massive traffic jams and inconvenience to residents. The toll continues to be collected despite the reduced road width.

The 6-lane OMR becomes a 4-lane road but TNRDC continues to charge the full rate, it is like paying the full rate for a thali meal but being served only a few dishes. Is it not unfair?

Second highest toll rate in India By collecting Rs. 33 (car) for a road of just 7 km (from Navalur to Sholiganallur), OMR is the second most expensive toll road in India – at the rate of almost Rs. 5 per km. Sadly the citizens are paying this huge rate for a road that has barricades, bad road quality, absence of streetlights and blinding construction lights from CMRL worksites.

Read more: Chennai Metro Phase II: A status check on the progress of the project

Leading by example

Replying to a calling attention motion moved by Manithaneya Makkal Katchi (MMK) leader Mr. M H Jawahirullah, the state minister Mr. E V Velu had said in the assembly there is a sub-section in the NHAI rules which states that there should not be any toll plaza within 10 km of municipalities and corporations, but the toll plazas in Chennasamudram, Nemili, Vanagaram, Surapattu and Paranur exist in violation of this norm.

TNRDC’s Navalur Toll Plaza is a mere 1 km from the Greater Chennai Corporation limits.

We appreciate the efforts of the minister of public works and highways Mr. E V Velu, in trying to close down toll gates run by the Union Govt. (NHAI) around Chennai (Chennasamudram, Nemili, Vanagaram, Surapattu and Paranur) by speaking to Mr Nitin Gadkari.

We would like the Govt. of Tamilnadu to lead by example and shut down the State-run Toll plaza at Navalur, which is a mere 1 km from the Greater Chennai Corporation limits.

We urge you, as the Honorable Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, to take prompt action to address the concerns raised by the residents of Old Mahabalipuram Road. We request your intervention in initiating discussions with the relevant authorities. We believe that the removal of toll gate Navalur, Rajiv Gandhi Salai, OMR will not only alleviate the financial strain on the citizens but also contribute to the ease of commuting and overall improvement in the quality of life for the residents of Chennai.

We kindly request your immediate attention to this matter and hope for a favourable resolution that upholds the best interests of the residents and the principles of equitable development.

[The above information and letter were shared by the FOMRRA via a press note and has been republished here with minimal edits.]

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