Shiv Sena activists today stormed the Mumbai international airport premises and forced a toll booth there to shut down, alleging it is illegally collecting a steep fee of Rs 130 from each vehicle entering the area. Leading the protest, senior party leader Anil Parab warned that the entire aerodrome, one of the busiest in the country, will be closed if the airport operator (MIAL) collects toll from motorists entering its premises.
Dozens of Sena activists forcibly closed the outlet in suburban Vile Parle, calling it “illegal” and shouting slogans against toll collection.
“If GVK (a partner in MIAL) restarts toll collection, serious consequences will follow. Today, we have protested outside (the airport) and ensured closure of the toll booth. Tomorrow, we will not hesitate to go inside and close down the entire airport,” Parab told reporters.
A sum of Rs 130 is being illegally collected by MIAL from each vehicle entering the airport premises, he said.
“Thousands of people are being looted and put to great discomfort,” said Parab, who is also a member of the Legislative Council.
Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) is a joint venture between GVK group, a private entity, and Airports Authority of India (AAI), a Central government agency.
When contacted, MIAL declined to comment on the issue.
However, according to an airport official, only commercial vehicle operators have to pay Rs 130 as entry fee.
“There is a designated spot to pick up and drop passengers. However, cab operators pick up passengers from anywhere in the airport area.
“To discourage them from doing so and also to decongest the airport premises, only commercial vehicle operators have to pay Rs 130 as entry fee,” the official said.