New toll rates on highways to be effective after Lok Sabha elections

New toll rates on highways to be effective after Lok Sabha elections

New Delhi | The Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked state-owned NHAI to go ahead with the calculation of new user fee (toll) rates on highways, which kicks in annually from April 1 across most of tolled highway stretches in the country, but said the new rates should be applicable only after the Lok Sabha elections.

According to documents accessed by PTI, ECI has asked the NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) to defer toll fee hike. The ECI was responding to a communication from road transport and highways minister in this regard.

The annual revision of toll hikes, which was expected to be in the range of average 5 per cent, was to come into effect on April 1 for most of tolled highways and expressways stretches across the country.

"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 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 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.

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 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.

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