Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Thursday that locals will be exempted from paying toll tax at the toll plaza on the Jammu-Srinagar highway in Anantnag district.

Talking to the media after inaugurating a gridlock separator near the tourist reception centre grounds in Srinagar, Malik said locals will be exempted from paying any toll tax at the toll plaza at Sangam in Anantnag.

Malik said the toll plaza had been set up by the National Highway Authority of India and the state government had taken up the issue of exemption for locals with the government of India.

The toll plaza, set up on May 7, has been collecting toll tax from every vehicle using the highway except those of security forces, ambulances, funeral vans, fire services and vehicles used by VIPs.

Local traders, transporters, students, doctors, engineers, lawyers and common citizens have been demanding that since they use the highway a number of times each day, the burden of toll tax had become unbearable.

Political parties including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party have also demanded exemption of locals from paying the toll tax, saying the highway is used by them for private and professional purposes and not as a commercial enterprise.

On Tuesday, the J-K government announced that the Wednesday ban on the movement of civilian traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway would be lifted on 13 May.

However, the restrictions on Sundays would continue.