New toll rates on highways to come into effect after upcoming Lok Sabha elections


New toll rates on highways to be effective after Lok Sabha Polls, Election Commission, NHAI
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The Election Commission of India (ECI) has instructed the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to proceed with the calculation of new user fee (toll) rates on highways as per their annual schedule, typically commencing from April 1 each year. However, the EC has stipulated that the implementation of these new rates should be postponed until after the Lok Sabha elections.

EC issues directives to state-owned NHAI

As per documents obtained by the news agency PTI, the EC’s directive to NHAI comes in response to a request from the Minister of Road Transport and Highways. The scheduled annual adjustment of toll fees, anticipated to see an average increase of 5 per cent, was slated to take effect on April 1 for the majority of tolled highways and expressway sections nationwide.

“The process required for the decision on the power tariff may be continued by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission. However, tariff award shall be made only on the completion of the poll in the relevant state, i.e. after the poll date/dates in the state. In respect of the clarification sought, it is stated that user fee may be seen in the context of the power tariff as mentioned in the Commission’s instruction cited above,” the ECI said in a communication to the road ministry on April 1, 2024.

According to a senior NHAI official, the change in toll fee is part of an annual exercise to revise the rates that are linked to the changes in the wholesale price index-based inflation.

More than 850 user fee plazas

The elections for the 18th Lok Sabha will begin on April 19 followed by subsequent phases on April 26, May 7, May 13, May 20, May 25, and June 1. The counting of votes is on June 4. There are around 855 user fee plazas on the national highway network on which user fee is levied as per National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008. Out of these, around 675 are public-funded fee plazas and 180 are concessionaire-operated toll plazas.

(With PTI inputs)

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