A day after his party’s uncharacteristically peaceful agitation against toll plazas in Maharashtra, MNS chief Raj Thackeray was on Thursday back in his element, warning of “wreaking havoc” at houses of toll contractors who use force to collect the levy.
“I appeal to people of Maharashtra not to pay toll till the state government implements changes in the toll policy,” Raj told reporters after meeting Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan on the issue.
“If you don’t want to pay toll and if anyone at the toll plaza forcibly makes you to do so, we will wreak havoc at the house of the concerned toll contractor,” the MNS president said.
“Then the government should not blame us,” he said.
“I met Chavan today as per his phone call to me yesterday. He has assured me that the new toll policy will be brought in before the code of conduct for the ensuing elections is implemented,” Raj said.
“The chief minister conceded mistakes in the state’s build, operate, transfer (BOT) policy and said the government will reconsider it,” Raj said. “Chavan agreed that the condition of roads in the state was bad. He also assured us that the government will wind up all illegal toll booths,” the MNS leader said.
To a query on the success of his party’s anti-toll stir, Raj said, “Anna Hazare had also written to the government against toll. But since our party’s first agitation on the issue, 65 toll booths have been shut. This means that the government understands our language and not that of Hazare.”
Raj, who said the chief minister’s response at the meeting earlier in the day, was “very positive”, had assured that toll collection will be stopped at 22 toll plazas where the project cost was less than Rs 10 crore.