In what might bring relief to commuters traveling on national highways, the road ministry is mulling over a proposal to reduce toll to only 40% of the prevailing rate after a period of 30 years.
The policy, if approved, will be applicably to only such highway stretches which are funded by the government. Presently there are a little over 100 public funded highway stretches across India which is under toll. It won't apply to highway stretches developed by private concessionaires under the built operate transfer (BOT) model.
The idea, according to road ministry officials is to provide relief to commuters from paying full toll in perpetuity. "We are considering including a provision in the existing toll rules that if the capital investment in building a public funded highway stretch is recovered or once it completes 30 years - whichever comes first - the toll would automatically be reduced to 40%," said a senior road ministry official.
The official added that after 30 years, the capital investment on public funded roads would be deemed as recovered.
In the last couple of years, there has been widespread public anger over having to shell out hefty toll on highways in perpetuity irrespective of the condition of the stretch. Recently, RP Singh, chairman, National Highways Authority of India had also questioned the need to put all existing highway stretches on toll.
The ministry is also finalizing a model that will help determine exactly when the capital investment on a particular highway stretch has been recovered. "In the existing policy there is no clarity on this issue," said an official.