To combat the spread of Coronavirus in India, Indian Prime Minister called for a 21-day nationwide lockdown on Monday. After this, as per the latest reports, Union Minister of Road, Transport and Highway has announced to temporarily suspend toll collection at toll plazas till April 14, 2020, to ease emergency services in view of Coronavirus outbreak. He also stated that the maintenance of roads and availability of emergency resources at toll plaza would continue as usual.

As such, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will stop collecting toll across national highways in the country during the said 21 days’ nationwide lockdown announced to combat the deadly Coronavirus outbreak.

The said move comes after the authority sought an opinion from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways that if they should continue or suspend their toll operation during this lockdown period. Reportedly, NHAI has also received numerous requests from the toll operating agencies, expressing their inability to continue with their duty of toll collection due to the Coronavirus scare, financial viability because of drastic fall in revenue and unable to bring in new agencies to start the tolling process.

NHAI suspends toll collection across national highways till April 14, 2020

Referring to this request, the Highway Ministry responded to NHAI stating that as per the Home Ministry’s order, all private and commercial establishments needs to be closed down for 21 days to contain the spread of Coronavirus.

Sources added that stopping the said process of toll collection will have some implications on NHAI’s financial liability as the toll operators would be seeking compensation for the loss incurred during that 21-day period. Regarding this, a senior executive from one of the most crowded toll plazas said that although there will be some ripple effect due to this action, the primary focus now is to check the spread of COVID-19.

He added that the toll gate attendants taking money from people are also open to danger and moreover, toll collection has reduced to nearly 20 per cent.

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