Soon, motorists will have to shell out more money for driving on the stretches of national highways (NH) which are publicly funded.In the next fortnight, the ministry of road transport & highways is set to increase the toll fare by 25% on 60 publicly- funded stretches of national highways. It is part of the ministry's "transition plan" to bring the fare in these sections, which were following the old 1997 toll fee rules -where the fare was revised once in every five years -at par with the new 2008 toll rates. The last time the toll fare was increased on these 60 stretches was in 2003.
All NH stretches that came up after 2008 follow the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, which is revised every year based on wholesale price index. There are 58 such stretches.
The hike would vary between Rs 4 and Rs 110 for different categories of vehicles. This is not all. Once the new toll rates are notified, these 60-odd stretches would see a 25 % hike in toll every year for the next 5-6 years. "As per our estimates, it will roughly take 5-6 years till the 1997 rates come at par with the 2008 rates. The idea is to have a uniform toll on all NHs across the country," said a NHAI official.
The ministry has decided to increase the toll in a graded way -by 25 % every year till they reach the 2008 level -to ensure that motorists do not feel the brunt at one go.
"Because of the disparity, the difference between the 1997 and 2008 rates had increased manifold. Had we increased it at one go, the hike would have been very steep," said an official.
However, the toll on 61 privately-funded stretches (BOT Toll) of NH which were following the 1997 fee rules will not be increased.
"For BOT (toll) stretches private concessionaires had already entered into an agreement with NHAI. They will abide by the same. The transition plan applies only to publicly-funded roads," said an official.