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Hoa Binh urges toll decrease following protest

Update: December, 09/2015 - 20:13
Hundreds of local residents blocked gates of a toll station in Luong Son Town, Hoa Binh Province on Sunday. The province authorities have urged the company in charge of operating a road toll on Highway 6 to consider decreasing fees as soon as possible. — Photo vnexpress.net
HOA BINH — Hoa Binh Province authorities have urged the company in charge of operating a road toll on Highway 6 to consider decreasing fees as soon as possible following a two-day protest at the toll station that blocked traffic for hours.

At least a hundred residents in Luong Son Town where the toll station is located gathered there on Sunday, blocking the gates with chairs and vehicles they brought, said a Vietnam News Agency reporter based in the province.

The protest created a bottleneck for about two hours on Highway 6 that connects northwest provinces and Ha Noi before more than 80 police officers managed to bring the traffic back to normal.  

The locals came to protest against the decision of the BOT Highway 6 Hoa Lac-Hoa Binh JSC., Co. to start collecting tolls since October 20, which were even planned to rise higher on January 1 next year.

The current tolls for vehicles using the highway, constructed under the Build-Operating-Transfer (BOT) model, ranged from VND25,000 (US$1.1) to a maximum of VND180,000 ($8) depending on vehicle types.

The latest protest was not the first time the locals raised their voices against the toll fees. Gatherings in smaller scales have been on-going constantly since late October following the company's toll collecting decision.

The locals argued that the tolls were too high and affected the income of those living in Luong Son Town and the neighbouring areas.

Hoa Binh People's Committee, in its response, had proposed a solution in November to cut up to 60 per cent of the toll fees for residents living across Luong Son Town and three communes of Lam Son, Truong Son and Tan Vinh. The discounts were to target passenger vehicles under 12 seats and freight trucks weighing less than four tonnes which have monthly and quarterly tickets.

The Ministry of Finance, however, failed to approve the solution, saying such a discount was unprecedented and the ministry does not have the authority to issue the decision. — VNS 

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