Authorities cave to Ha Tinh toll road protestors

Update: April, 29/2017 - 09:00
Cầu Rác toll station in central Hà Tĩnh Province’s Cẩm Trung Commune is located 30 kilometres away from the 16 kilometres-long BOT road. Thus, many locals used to pay a fee when passing through the toll station although they did not travel on the BOT road. — VNS Photo Đào Việt Dũng
Viet Nam News

HÀ TĨNH – Residents in the districts of Cẩm Xuyên and Kỳ Anh in central Hà Tĩnh Province will not have to pay fees when passing through Cầu Rác toll station, the Ministry of Transport has said.

In a document sent to agencies, the ministry agreed not to collect fees from vehicle owners whose household registration certificates are registered in the two districts.

The ministry has asked the provincial People’s Committee and local authorities in the two districts to work with the investor of the toll station to identify those eligible for the discount and apply it from May.

The move was made after repeated protests by locals at the toll booth since the end of March.

On April 16, trucks and cars with banners on them reading “We don’t use the BOT [build-operate-transfer] road, why force us to pay the fee?” drove slowly through Cầu Rác Toll Station in Cẩm Trung Commune, causing traffic jams. Protesters said they did it to oppose the toll.

According to them, the position of the toll booth was unreasonable. It is located in Cầu Rác area, 30 kilometres away from the 16 kilometres-long road. Thus, many locals had to pay when passing through the toll station even though they did not use the BOT road.  

Local police spent two hours persuading the protesters to disperse.

On April 19, hundreds of people in the two districts signed a petition asking for a 100 per cent of discount of BOT fee when passing through Cầu Rác Toll Station. The petition was sent to provincial authorities and Hà Tĩnh-based Sông Đà Infrastructure Co.,Ltd.

Lê Văn Nam, resident in Cẩm Trung Commune, said to that he drove his excavator around the commune, but had to pay VNĐ150,000 (US$6.9) in tolls each day.

He said he did not use the BOT road, so it was unreasonable to pay the fee.

Nguyễn Xuân Hiền, another resident in the commune, said that he had to pay VNĐ1.5 million ($69.7) in fees each day as he travelled through the toll station ten times a day to transport building materials.

In reply to local residents’ complaints, Sông Đà Infrastructure Co.,Ltd and the provincial People’s Committee reported the situation to the Ministry of Transport and proposed the toll exemption.

In 2005, Sông Đà Infrastructure Co.,Ltd was chosen to be the investor of the BOT road to bypass Hà Tĩnh City. In May 2009, the road officially opened for traffic. – VNS