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Old 9th September 2012, 20:25   #1
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Default Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

Hello Bhp'ians,

I would like to share my two personal experiences, on State highways in karnataka and andhrapradesh.

Incident1: While i was returning from Kalsa (chickmaglur District) towards Dharmasthala in my previous trip to malnad. There was this procession of idol (hindu) Ganesha i think. Procession is fine.
But, before i could pass this procession, these group of teenagers around 15-23 year olds, started to demand money by not allowing me (by standing in front of my car) and telling me to give some donation, then only my car will be allowed. I got angry, because how they can ask for donation, but not by standing in front of my car and blocking me completely. I was with my family including wife,kid, my dad and mom.
Then i rolled down the window, and gave some good words in sanskrit in kannada language and told them to move away, or i will move anyway move my car..They understood my kannada and quietly moved away.

Incident2:
Recently around 2 months back, i had gone to bellary (karnataka) from bangalore and while returning to bangalore. I took the route Bellary-Hagari-Vidapinkal-Uravakonda-Anantapur-Bangalore, for change. Just after deviation towards vidapinkal from hagari. Road was blocked!. but by construction, but by group of Teenagers around 10-18 yrs. near there village. road block was by small square shaped construction bolder, Through which only bus or lorry can override them, not any car /suv/muv.
When i asked them to remove the stones, so that i can move. they are telling in telugu, give us some money. This again got me angry, i scolded them in telugu, and gave swear words. Those school boys understood, and then moved these stones from road. so that i can move.

Outcomings of above incidents: Both incidents on state highways, where not much highway patrols are present.
If local language is not known, surely, u would have nightware dealing with them.
Above incidents are caused by local villagers, or people around these highways.
For whatever reason, never stop the car, nor worst getdown from car unless it is emergency.
From what i understand, these people seems to be left out from growing part of economic india, and seem to understand only way to make money is to take it by illegal means.
Fortunately, this phenomenon does not happen on NH's. Where road traffic and patrols are frequent.
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Old 9th September 2012, 20:39   #2
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

I have faced such incidents in the Chitoor-Chennai roads. They would block the road, but so far, they moved after just telling them to do so. Atleast, no untoward incidents or demands. But I can understand, its just that I was lucky.

Seems this is a new way of burglary :(
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Old 9th September 2012, 20:47   #3
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

This is quite common i guess.I had faced a similar issue while driving back from Patna on a state highway and not the National highway.I had to pay money as i was with family members and it was getting dark.The hooligans had blocked the road and were wielding sticks.They wanted money/donation for some pooja they were performing next to the road.I paid and scooted off.There is no use getting into altercation with them as the mentality of a mob is never of sanity.They can do more damage than anything else.
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Old 9th September 2012, 21:56   #4
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

A few years back, the same practice was being followed by a bunch of kids on the road to Nandi hills (on the pretext of Durga Pooja).
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Old 9th September 2012, 22:07   #5
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

This is quite common, as the festive season nears. Every village tries to make the festival as grand as possible, and try to beat other villages. How can they raise money? By this kind of extortion. The organizers themselves do not go on the roads. They order the village teenagers to collect money from the drivers.

I frequently experience this, as I live outside the city. I have never given them money, and never will.

Long long time ago (probably in 2003), a few of us friends were driving to Mekedatu and we were stopped by kids like this, asking money for the festival. Out of pity, we gave 10 Rs. After some time, another bunch of kids stopped us and asked money for the festival. We said we just gave. They said that's for the other village. We asked them why can't they just get together and celebrate the festival in its true meaning. Sadly, philosophy didn't work. But our stern words did, and we were let go :-)
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Old 9th September 2012, 22:36   #6
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

I have faced this twice. Once on the way to gokak. The guys had held a stout chain to block the road. I had no other choice but to stop. They asked to donate something for the village god . Paid 5 bucks and scooted.

Next time it was near bellary last year. Entering bellary we had to stop at a railway crossing. Immediately a group of 3-4 guys who looked like rowdy's surrounded our car and asked for money towards some procession. They were not satisfied with the 10 bucks i gave and wanted more. Since i was stuck at level crossing, i had no choice but to give another 10. Then one of the fellows said-"Wat saar, u have such a big car and you are just giving Rs.20" . I said thats all i give towards God. And you should not ask for more since god wont be pleased and stuff like that. Thankfully the train had passed and those fellows crowded the car behind mine!

Best option would be to asses the situation and then decide on what to do. Most of the times,these fellows would be satisfied with Rs.5 and you can move on. Some of them wont hesitate to retaliate if you refuse to pay!Once when i was travelling in a state transport bus(those rickety old Red ones) from Bagalkot - Mudhol , a group of guys stopped the bus and while a few sat in front of it, others got into and asked money from everyone threatening that they will release air from all tyres if we dont!! In those time Rs 1 had value and paid that much to them!
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Old 10th September 2012, 01:40   #7
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

I am surprised to see the title of the thread as the words "NEW" and "SCAM" are mentioned as there is absolutely nothing NEW (its being done since ages) or something that can be referred to as SCAM. I doubt as to whether they are used in the right context.
Reason being as also been mentioned in the OP itself that after he resisted, the teenagers 'quietly' moved away.
I have experienced this inconvenience in almost all the parts of India (even in Goa) especially during festival season. I have seen the teenagers demanding some donation in the name of Ganesh festival, Navaratri, church feast, etc.
My views on this is that as with every other gathering or occassion, its not the event itself but the way of conducting it is what irritates all of us most.
But if one like to view it in different way, it can be little fun. Believe me, when I was stopped for the first time in Goa, I was kinda shocked and was reluctant to pay but I had some elder family member with me who paid them happily and with a smile. Trust me, the behaviour of the group of teenagers changed almost immediately and were very happy and grateful to us. We didn't pay more than 10-20 rupees but still they were very happy.
When I went to MP recently to attend a wedding, our Indica was passing through a village road and same thing happened, I paid them proactively and with a smile and all the kids were happy and were thanking us. Afterwards when I enquired the driver, he confirmed that if we don't want to pay, they won't do any harm or something.
I feel that if the teenagers try to ask for money politely, most of the people will snub them, if they try to stop the car politely, most of them would drive fast without bothering to stop. So the only way to make people stop and talk is either to block the road by some stone or stand in the middle of the road in groups. But the point to be noted is that if someone refuses, they don't force it (as mentioned in the OP too) sometimes but at the same time there are bad apples too.
All in all a typical Indian style of celebrating a festival.
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Old 10th September 2012, 04:45   #8
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

Anyone know about those guys charging Rs. 30/- to enter Lonavala, just as you get off the Expressway from Mumbai, exit 1.

I've never been able to engage them as I mostly travel alone or with my gf. It's well planned as they use barricades left by local Police & absolutely don't let you pass. Run by 6-7 guys & they give you a small pink slip as proof, 'Green Tax blah blah blah'.

I saw one guy getting manhandled when he tried to rally other drivers against paying, the situation was resolved but a trip to the doctor is more expensive than Rs. 30. Don't tell me I should complain to the cops because I've tried & failed to see any action from their end.

----------

A similar thing happens if you travel on the road between Karjat & Nerul/Matheran after sunset, its a 10-12km patch of straight road. They demand money to keep using the road , I was younger then, promised & tried to mow them down. Not my proudest moment but it worked. Not sure if it belongs in this thread but worth a mention.
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Old 10th September 2012, 08:54   #9
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Unhappy re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

This is nothing but road side dadagiri. I can relate these events to my childhood when several Ganesh/navratri mandals reps used to bang on house doors for the forced collections and if not given they would keep hammering the doors or bad mouth till they are given the stipulated amount.

I have seen the same happening in the lanes in Thane where the mandap decoration block the lane and vehicles using the lanes have to offer something (read cash) to the mandals if they have to pass.
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Old 10th September 2012, 09:45   #10
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

Old hat, not new scam. Seen this happen almost everywhere, especially when the high-speed expressways had not existed. If you were unfortunate enough to need to travel by road during the Holi / Diwali / Navratra / Durga Puja / Ganesh Chaturthi etc., it would be invariably necessary to pay these unofficial 'toll' charges on even National Highways, never mind State Highways. On top of it, I've had cops (or at least, they looked like cops, and wore uniforms ) trying to extract money out of me by sticking red and green circular stickers on my bumper and explaining that this is a legal requirement in some states (UK, HP, RJ)

One state where I don't remember being asked for such money is in GJ.
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Old 10th September 2012, 10:02   #11
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

This happened to me on the Chitradurga - Hospet Road a few years back. Drunk "devotees" blocking the road with those wooden poles (used in construction, for holding up the roof) asking for money. We acted deaf and drove over those poles anyway, with people banging on the windows.
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Old 10th September 2012, 10:27   #12
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

Quote:
Originally Posted by carwatcher View Post
I am surprised to see the title of the thread as the words "NEW" and "SCAM" are mentioned as there is absolutely nothing NEW (its being done since ages) or something that can be referred to as SCAM.
Right. Asking for 'donation' for festivals is as old as transportation.
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Old 10th September 2012, 10:33   #13
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Default re: Nuisance : Demanding donations on the Highway during the festive season

Quote:
Originally Posted by carwatcher View Post
I am surprised to see the title of the thread as the words "NEW" and "SCAM" are mentioned as there is absolutely nothing NEW (its being done since ages) or something that can be referred to as SCAM. I doubt as to whether they are used in the right context.
Quote:
Originally Posted by msdivy View Post
Right. Asking for 'donation' for festivals is as old as transportation.
Agree with both of you. The title of the thread should be changed to something like:

Demanding Donations on the Highways during the Festive seasons.

@Mods: Can we appropriate action on this please?
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