What is ERPOA?
On May 4, 2002, aggrieved residents along the East Coast Road, that runs between Chennai and Pondicherry, formed the ECR Residents and Property Owners Association or ERPOA .
At a well attended meeting in Muttukkadu, they resolved to campaign with every civil means at their disposal, to have the unjust levy of toll on them annulled.
ERPOA has charted a road map for this purpose. This website is but one step along that road map.
What is TNRDC doing?
Though Tamil Nadu Road Development Company [ TNRDC] is a joint venture between a State government body [TIDCO] and private interests, the entire management rights vest with the private interests of TNRDC, with the government only reviewing policy measures suggested by TNRDC.
Ever since they heard of the intention to toll the road, residents have been beseeching TNRDC, at all levels up to the highest, to exempt them from any proposed levy.
TNRDC has been by turns arrogant and deceitful when listening to residents' representation. It appears to have decided to wait and watch, how long the residents will sustain their protests. As a policy, it has chosen to pretend that it is helpless in the matter and that it only does the government's bidding.
The formation of ERPOA is a response to TNRDC's obduracy.
|The core issues
The toll on residents along ECR, offends three principles:
1- A toll paid must in return offer some advantage in terms of money or time saved or convenience. For the residents there is nothing in return for the toll paid.
2- Citizens of India are assured by the Indian Constitution access to their homes and properties without having to pay anything to anyone. A toll on the residents' only means to conduct their daily lives from their homes, offends the Constitution.
3- By usage , the ECR, for residents along it, has been a free, public access for 30 years. They cannot suddenly be denied free use of it, as that would compromise their easement rights.
Some residents' comments:
"It has always been our road. How can TNRDC steal it and ask us to pay for its use?"
"The only time we give money and don't expect anything in return in when we give it to a friend as gift or a charity as donation or a beggar as alms. Is TNRDC any of these?"
"Let them leave our road alone. They can create a brand new facility elsewhere and collect all they want."
"Whatever TNRDC has done to our road is no more than gimmikry. Buttons on the surface and signages don't cut my traveling time or save any fuel."
"Do you know if you turn into the road to Kelambakkam you are asked for a toll; but if you drive into Kovalam Road a 50 yards, make a u-turn and cross the road, you pay no toll!"