Toll Fees Hike by 5% Ignites Concerns for Commuters In India

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In the recent development made by the National Highways Authority Of India(NHAI), toll fee hike in India have been inflated by an average of 5%. This development came in response to accommodate the changes incurred in inflation. 

However, the move has sparked considerable public outcry, prompting NHAI to defer the date of implementation from April 1st, 2024 to June 3rd, 2024. Yet, the temporary relief is not only aligned with the public scuffle but is also influenced by the schedule of the Lok Sabha elections. 

Reasons Behind Toll Fees Hike

As stated by the senior NHAI official, the ‘Toll Fees hike is an annual phenomenon where there will be revised rates in alignment with the changes in the Wholesale Price Index-Based Inflation’. Considering the stats, there are around 855 use fee plazas on the National Highway Networks on which the user fee is levied under the National Highways Fee(Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008. 

Among all these toll plazas, there are 675 which are pubic-funded fee plazas and the rest 180 are the concessionaire-operated toll plazas. The additional revenue generated from toll fees hike is directed towards the maintenance and management of these highways, ensuring public safety and efficient infrastructure upkeep.

Are Toll Fees On Expressways Impacting The Public?

The recent toll fees hike of 5% on expressways has ignited widespread discontent among the public. This will impact the commuters in various ways, financially it can add economic burden squeezing an already tight budget. Previously, if you were paying 100 rupees as toll fees on expressways now you are liable to pay 105 rupees for the same road. The impact of the surge can disproportionately affect low-income individuals to lower the chances of expressway accessibility. There will be supply chain disruptions with the increased operation costs and also serial resentment among the public without clear communication for the recent surge.

Eleventh Hour Decision On Toll Fees Hike

In the surprising move of the deferred implementation date by National Highway Authority Of India(NHAI), there are raised concerns for the National Highways Builders Federation(NHBF), as the former asked not to publish revised toll rates effective from April 1st, 2024, as it contradicts to the established rules and regulations under National Highway Rules, 2008. NHBF members also openly passed verbal messages that there is clear communication and adherence to the regulations are the need of the hour to avoid confusion in the future.

Every year, the toll rate is adjusted to reflect variations in inflation based on the wholesale price index (CPI). On the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008, user fees are collected at about 855 user fee plazas on the network of national highways. 

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