NHAI likely to compensate toll operators for losses due to suspension of toll charges
The government is considering to compensate toll operators for the losses incurred in the wake of suspension of toll charges on national highways, an official said on Tuesday.
The government on March 25 had temporarily suspended toll collections on national highways to ease emergency services in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
"NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) is likely to make payments to toll operators for the losses incurred during the period," an official said.
Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the NHAI may be directed to compensate the losses incurred.
"In view of COVID-19, it has been ordered to temporarily suspend the collection of toll at all toll plazas across India," Road Transport and Highways Gadkari had announced last month.
This will not only reduce inconvenience to emergency services but also save critical time, the minister has said.
The NHAI had rolled out the electronic toll collection programme across India in December on its over 500 toll plazas while doubling toll charges from the vehicles entering FASTag lanes without the tag.
In order to give prime importance to existing FASTag users, dissuade defaulters and further encourage adoption of FASTags by national highway commuters, vehicles without FASTags entering the FASTag lane were being charged double the toll fee, and last month over Rs 20 crore were collected from 20 lakh vehicles encroaching FASTag lanes across India.
About two crore FASTags have been issued through multiple Point of Sale (PoS) locations.
FASTag transaction by the NHAI last month had crossed four million per day.
In order to further increase digital collection of user fee via FASTag at national highways fee plazas, NHAI had also waived off the FASTag cost of Rs 100 for NHAI FASTag.
Rating agency ICRA had earlier said that amid the nationwide lockdown on account of coronavirus outbreak, the toll collection on national highways will see a dip of about 3 per cent in the current fiscal.