NHAI to resume toll collection on National highways from April 20

NEW DELHI: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to resume toll collection on national highways from April 20 when the home ministry order delineating a list of activities allowed during the lockdown will come into effect.

The ministry of road transport and highways had asked the NHAI to stop toll operations across the country from March 25 when the nationwide lockdown began amid the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.

In a letter sent on Friday, the ministry asked NHAI to take necessary action for toll operations to resume.

“It has further been highlighted that user fee collection contributes to the government exchequer and also provides financial strength to NHAI in terms of budgetary support,” said the letter, a copy of which was reviewed by ET.

While the nationwide lockdown has been extended till May 3, the home ministry earlier this week announced a slew of relaxations towards phased reopening of the economy.

Besides construction activity, the home ministry has allowed commercial and private establishments to resume operations. Toll collection falls under this category. Interstate and intra-state movement of all trucks and other goods or carrier vehicles has also been allowed.

An ICRA report earlier this week had estimated a loss of over Rs 1,800 crore to NHAI if toll plazas remained unoperational till May 3. “If the toll suspension is revoked with effect from April 20, the loss could reduce to Rs 1,181 crore,” the report said.

In case where a toll plaza is operated by a private player, the government will have to compensate the loss of revenue to operators, as Covid-19 can classify under the force majeure clause of concession or contract agreement as per rules laid by the finance ministry, which essentially saves the performing party from the consequences of events beyond their control.

Source Article

Lois C. Ferrara

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