Increase in highway toll awaits govt green signal
Travelling on highways across India is going to become more expensive if a recent proposal of the road transport and highways ministry gets the green signal.delhi Updated: Mar 14, 2012 01:36 IST
Travelling on highways across India is going to become more expensive if a recent proposal of the road transport and highways ministry gets the green signal.
On the pretext to attract investments and generate more revenue for the sector, the ministry has proposed a slew of measures to amend the National Highways Fee Rules-2008. If accepted, it will not only cause a substantial increase in toll on existing as well as upcoming national highways, but also bring a majority of the existing two-laned roads — where motorists currently do not have to pay any user fee – under the toll bracket."The proposal to amend the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules-2008 was sent to the finance and law ministries last week for comments," said a government official privy to the development.
To start with, the ministry has proposed to increase the toll on all national highways, where it revised every year based on annual change in the Wholesale Price Index (WPI). At present, the revision is based on a 3% fixed rate plus 40% of the yearly change in WPI. Last year, for instance, the annual toll hike was an estimated 6%. Now, the ministry wants new rates based on 3% fixed rate and 70% annual change in WPI — instead of 40%. This will result in around 10% increase in annual toll.
It has also proposed to charge more — 50% more than the prevailing toll on national highways — for travelling on high-speed expressways. Under the 12th Plan, the Centre has envisaged laying 1,000 km of expressways across India.
Finally, it has proposed to bring a majority of two-laned roads under toll. Till now, only two-laned roads, where the average investment for upgradation was Rs 2.5 crore per km, were being tolled. The ministry now plans to replace this financial parameter with a physical one where any two lane road, widened by three metres or more, will be tolled. At present, the ministry earns around Rs 5,000 crore from toll.