03 February 2020
Bhubaneswar: Do Netas in our country need any introduction? Is their presence not an announcement in itself for the commoners to bow with reverence? Is it not ‘sinful’ to ask a Neta to identify himself?
The last question here becomes even for pressing, if the Neta in question is travelling within home State, and even more, if it was his or her own constituency. But these are unwritten norms. The rule book says something different.
While travelling on a National Highway, an MLA, MLC or Minister of a State needs to produce an identity card, if he/she wishes not to pay the ‘Toll’.
We are discussing all these points because; an incident on the similar theory took place in Sundergarh district recently. Labour and ESI Minister Susant Singh's vehicle was restrained at Masnikani toll plaza on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.
According to reports, the staffers asked Singh's driver to pay the toll. While Singh was travelling in his official car, in the dead of the night, the toll plaza staff could not recognise him.
The driver said that a Minister of the Odisha Government was seated behind, so the vehicle should be exempted from toll fees on National Highway.
Soon an argument ensued and Singh came out of the vehicle to intervene. The toll gate employees asked him to produce an identity card. The Minister was reportedly irked with this response, following which the matter escalated.
As per a police complaint filed by Singh’s driver, around a dozen toll gate employees allegedly manhandled him and tore his shirt.
The Minister was detained for half an hour till local police reached the spot and detained a few staff of the toll gate for questioning. The infuriated Minister was later taken to Sundargarh Circuit House.
OMMCOM NEWS tried to reach out to Singh for his reaction on the incident. However, our attempts were futile.
But the question here remains, who is at fault for this entire fiasco? Was it Singh, if by any chance he refused to produce his identity card or it was the toll gate staff who demanded an identity proof from the Minister? We leave it for our readers to decide!