26th March, 2020
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced suspension of toll collection at all toll plazas across the country to remove problems in supply of emergency services during the lockdown imposed in the wake of the corona virus. He tweeted on Wednesday that in view of the outbreak of Corona virus, toll collection has been ordered to be temporarily suspended at all toll plazas in the country. With this order, problems in the supply of emergency services will be removed.
The central government has taken this decision in view of the limited traffic on the highways due to the corona lock-down, the risk to toll personnel and the problems in the supply of emergency services. In the last three days, vehicular traffic on national highways has come to a standstill due to the Corona lock-down and only trucks supplying essential goods, government vehicles and ambulances related to essential services are seen coming and going. Not only this, the police are only allowing private cars to go on the highway for giving reasonable reasons. In such a situation, barely 20 percent traffic is left and it is decreasing day by day.
Since most commercial vehicles are moving now, the toll collection of NHAI has fallen by 75 per cent. According to sources, before the lockdown on 22 March, there was a toll collection of about Rs 85 crore daily at the toll plaza of NHAI. On Sunday, only 33 crore rupees, on Monday, 30 crores and on Tuesday, before the nationwide lock-down, a toll of about 25 crores was collected. Now the entire lock down. According to an NHAI official, most lanes are closed and one or two lanes are being run on both sides.
In such a situation, the need for toll employees has been limited, there is also a risk of infection among the personnel doing duty, especially in the hybrid lane. There are also problems of arrival of toll workers. At the same time there are obstacles in the supply of emergency services. In such a situation, the NHAI administration had advised the government that toll collection should be postponed and toll free vehicles should be considered before the toll plazas could generate less and more expenditure.