National highways: Covid-19 impact: National highways toll collection halves in one week

NEW DELHI: Toll collection across National highways in the country has dipped around 50% in last one week, owing to restricted movement of fleet because of Covid-19 outbreak that has put most of the country in a lockdown.

Latest data from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) shows that toll collected through FASTags, which now account for almost 70% of the transactions across the country, fell 50% on Sunday compared to last week.

Toll collected via FASTags on Sunday stood at Rs 33.12 crore, a 48% dip as compared to the Sunday before. On an average, daily toll collection across National highways is Rs 85 crores.

“With more than 70% transactions taking place electronically, FASTag numbers can well depict the trend of toll collection,” a government official told ET. “We have similar trends in toll collection through cash.”

Number of transactions at toll plazas also dipped to around 14 lakh across the country from 38 lakh the previous Sunday.

A senior NHAI official said there is little the government can do to check the dip in toll revenue. While the declining toll collection may hit the highway monetisation plans of NHAI, generally contracts provide sufficient protection against such conditions, the official said.

“Nobody had anticipated this, but our contracts with private players safeguard them against such risks,” the official said.

“The revenue loss of private players operating toll plazas will have to be compensated by the government,” said the first official quoted earlier.

In view of the Covid-19 outbreak, movement of fleet has come down drastically over the last week, and across various modes of transport.

The Centre on Sunday barred interstate public transport, besides discontinuing all passenger train services till March 31 as Covid-19 cases rose in the country.

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