Success of a Fake Toll Inspires Opening Another: Morbi’s Toll Plaza Business Formula, Took Toll in the Name of Babasaheb’s Statue

Between Vankner and Morbi on the highway, there used to be one or two toll booths. The issue of a fake toll booth next to the National Highway Authority of India’s (NHAI) legitimate toll booth was prevalent. However, what was even more concerning was the operation of another unauthorized toll booth for years. Initially, the success of one fake toll booth prompted the creation of another, operating for years with impunity.

September 1, 2009:

Fourteen years ago on this day, toll collection began near the Vaghasia village, close to Satvara, as per the toll tax regulations enforced for vehicles using the road. However, prominent engineers and planners, despite selecting this location for the toll plaza, faced criticism from the residents of Vaghasia.

Heading towards Morbi, one must reach the toll booth before Vaghasia to take the road leading to Morbi. If one wishes to go towards Morbi without entering Vaghasia, they can bypass the toll booth by passing through the village, crossing two railway crossings, and then ascending onto the highway again.

People had to pay a toll even to exit the village, and despite protests, they had no choice but to pay.

When toll collection began on the main highway, people were compelled to pay toll taxes according to the rules. During this time, some residents of Vaghasia, having selected Vaghasia as the location for the toll plaza, started receiving dividends without contributing to the toll taxes. In a short period, some individuals from the village began approaching the toll operators independently, initiating the trend of diverting toll taxes for personal gain.

Residents of the village, who received dividends from toll operators, could avoid paying taxes in this way. However, even toll operators found it cheaper to pay original toll taxes, resorting to bribes without charging exorbitant amounts.

Developing Promises by Extracting Money from Toll Operators:

Dilipbhai, residing in Vaghasia, stated that he has been filing complaints since 2010. He had written letters to the then Chief Minister Narendra Modi. With a significant number of vehicles passing through the village, there was also a fear of accidents. People in the village started diverting fake toll taxes, accumulating lakhs of rupees without any apparent improvement in the village’s development.

While toll booths were operational in Vaghasia for years, the responsibility lay with the authorities. This shocking revelation was also highlighted when an individual from the village complained to the district collector, but no substantial action was taken.

Dilipbhai mentioned an incident where they filed a complaint with the police, but their complaint was not recorded. In response to the complaint, the authorities explained that no such toll booths were in operation. Dilipbhai concludes that there is not a single person in the taluka who is unaware of the fake toll booths, yet the police and administration claim ignorance.

The intriguing part is that there is no person in the entire taluka who is not aware of the fake toll booths, yet the police and administration claim ignorance. Dilipbhai has raised the issue, emphasizing that the toll revenue should contribute to the village’s development. Despite the income generated, there has been no noticeable change in the village’s condition.

In Vaghasia, the game of real and fake tollbooths was silently played for years. A significant change occurred about two and a half years ago. Besides the genuine tollbooth, a White House Ceramic factory, owned by Jeram Patel, emerged. Jeram Patel is the son of Dikra Amareshee Patel, a prominent figure in Umiyadham Siddhasar.

Surprisingly, the construction of this factory included providing access to the bypass tollbooth. This meant that if a vehicle entered through one gate and exited through another, it would bypass the authentic tollbooth operated by NHAI. This led to the use of the factory’s tollbooth as an alternative for drivers who wanted to avoid the dusty roads of Vaghasia, bypassing toll collection twice.

Humorously, the vehicles avoiding the Vaghasia tollbooth used to pay more than those using NHAI’s authentic tollbooth, as NHAI tolls were relatively lower. This created a sense of “profitable joy” for those using the unofficial tollbooth.

Now, What is the Current Situation of the Genuine Tollbooth?

On Wednesday morning at 9:45 AM, the team from Divya Bhaskar reached the authentic tollbooth near Vaghasia. The presence of vehicles on the genuine tollbooth has increased since the closure of the fake tollbooth. The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) now registers a higher number of vehicles passing through this tollbooth.

Despite attempts to speak with the manager of the authentic tollbooth, Divya Bhaskar did not succeed. The manager argued that the entire matter should be investigated by the police, and no comments could be made at the moment. He insisted that no file related to the tollbooth could be viewed, even after two days. According to the manager, the SDM should be approached.

Ramesh, sitting near the tollbooth, mentioned that since the closure of the fake tollbooth, the number of vehicles passing through the authentic tollbooth has increased from 1400-1500 per day to over 5 lakh, resulting in a substantial increase in revenue.

Five people have filed a complaint about establishing both fake tollbooths. Among them are Dharmendrasinh Zala, the sarpanch of Vaghasia village and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, his brother Yuvrajsinh Zala, Amarshee Patel’s son Amarshibhai Patel, the leader of Siddhasar in Umiyadham, and another person named Samel, who is associated with the factory.

Regarding the Investigation, Sdm’s Opinion is Awaited. What Did the Officer in Charge Say?

A committee has been formed to investigate the case. To know about the progress of the investigation, the Divya Bhaskar team visited the office of the investigating officer. It was revealed that the officer, currently on leave, has not been available for the last fifteen days. When contacted by phone, he mentioned being outside the hospital. Another official is handling his duties during his absence. However, the replacement official stated that he has not received any file related to the tollbooth investigation. More details are expected once the SDM is approached.

In summary, the situation surrounding the investigation into the fake tollbooths in Vaghasia is currently unresolved, and conflicting information has been provided by the involved parties.

Now, Kantibhai Amrutiya will also be summoned for a report

Morbi’s legislator Kantibhai Amrutiya is also facing allegations of fake toll receipts. He dismisses it as baseless, stating that he has no interest in fake tolls. He claims to have traveled on the same road once or twice genuinely and is not concerned about the matter. If there is a complaint, he is ready to cooperate, and this issue has not been discussed with Jitubhai Somani. He says he will take appropriate action if the government pays attention.

Congress Leader Manoj Panara Demands Moral Resignation from Jairam Patel

Congress leader Manoj Panara suggests that Jairam Patel should consider resigning based on ethical grounds. He acknowledges that there is significant opposition to Jairam Patel’s role in society during the Patidar agitation.

What Arguments Did Jairam Patel Use to Defend His Son?

Jairam Patel, the leader of Umiyadham in Umreth, defended his son regarding fake toll allegations in the media. He stated that the factory near the toll booth belongs to them, which is currently sealed. He mentioned that they had rented the factory, and the rental agreement has been provided to the police. However, there is no mention of any involvement in toll evasion in the rental agreement. The agreement is for a period of 11 months, and they received a notice in the 10th month to cancel the rental agreement.

For more clarity, Jairam Patel also mentioned that they have not received any share or held any position in Amarshi Patel’s White House (the factory near the toll booth).

Niyati Rao

Niyati Rao is a seasoned writer and avid consumer who specializes in crafting informative and engaging articles and product reviews. With a passion for research and a knack for finding the best deals, Niyati enjoys helping readers make informed decisions about their purchases.