No toll collection till April 14Updated: Mar 25, 2020 23:57 IST
The ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH) has suspended toll collection at all toll plazas in the country, including the Kherki Daula toll plaza, from Wednesday evening till April 14, in view of a national lockdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak.
Late on Wednesday night, Union minister of MoRTH, Nitin Gadkari tweeted, “In view of COVID-19, it has been ordered to temporarily suspend the collection of toll at all toll plaza across India. This will not only reduce inconvenience to the supply of emergency services but also save critical time.”
In another tweet Gadkari said that, “maintenance of roads and availability of emergency resources at toll plaza will continue as usual.”
On Tuesday, till 6pm, around 10,000 vehicles had crossed the toll plaza and most of these vehicles were ambulances or goods carriers, said the concessionaire. S Raghuraman, chief executive officer, Millennium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL), said, “There will not be any commercial transaction at the Kherki Daula toll plaza till April 14.”
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the NHAI’s chief general manager Akhilesh Srivastava had written to the joint secretary, ministry of road transport and highways (MoRTH), requesting them to take a decision on running toll plazas across the country in view of COVID-19 outbreak in the country. “In view of the ministry of Home Affairs order dated March 24. The movement of traffic through toll plazas has reduced drastically. The movement along the national highways is mainly restricted to transport of essential goods and services only (sic),” read the letter.
Srivastava further wrote in the letter of numerous representations being made from toll operating agencies expressing their inability in continuing tolling operations. “Fear of spread of Covid-19 pandemic, financial viability the remittance due as per contracts are much higher than actual toll fee received by them in this lean period. Since, NHAI carries out tolling operations on behalf of MoRTH, it is requested that suitable directions may be given whether tolling operations should be continued or it should be suspended till further orders (sic),” read the letter a copy of which is with HT.
MoRTH’s Aishwarya Gupta, assistant executive engineer (Toll) wrote back to the NHAI chairman saying, “The prevailing conditions may be treated as force majeure of the concession/contract agreement as per the ministry of finance, department of expenditure (sic),” read the letter.
Anish John, systems manager, MCEPL, said, “This condition is applied by MoRTH under natural calamity or disastrous conditions.”