National highway toll collection halved in one week, Auto News, ET Auto
New Delhi: The collection of tolls on the country’s national highways has fallen by around 50% in the past week, due to the restriction of fleet movements due to the Covid-19 epidemic which has put most of the country in quarantine.
The latest data from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) shows that tolls collected through FASTags, which now account for nearly 70% of transactions across the country, fell 50% on Sunday compared to last week.
The toll collected via FASTags on Sunday was Rs 33.12 crore, a drop of 48% from the previous Sunday. On average, the daily toll on national highways is Rs 85 crores.
“With over 70% of transactions done electronically, FASTag numbers can describe the trend in toll collection well,” a government official told ET. “We have similar trends in the collection of cash tolls. “
The number of transactions at toll plazas also fell to around 14 lakh across the country, from 38 lakh on the previous Sunday.
A senior NHAI official said there was little the government could do to control the decline in toll revenues. While the drop in toll collection may affect NHAI’s highway monetization plans, the contracts generally offer sufficient protection against such conditions, the official said.
“No one had foreseen this, but our contracts with private actors protect them against such risks,” said the official.
“The loss of income of private actors operating toll stations will have to be compensated by the government”, declared the first official quoted above.
In view of the Covid-19 epidemic, movement of the fleet has decreased significantly over the past week, and across different modes of transport.
The Center banned interstate public transport on Sunday, in addition to interrupting all passenger train services until March 31 as cases of Covid-19 increased in the country.