Union Minister of Road, Trasport and Highway has announced to temporarily suspend toll collection at toll plazas to ease emergency services in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The BJP minister stated the maintenance of roads and availability of emergency resources at toll plaza would continue in a usual manner.
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. #IndiaFightsCorona."
The decision to suspend toll has come after Prime Minister Narendra Modi imposed a nationwide lockdown for 21 days across India to stem the spread of coronavirus. Amid the three-week-long lockdown, only grocery shops, banks, factories that manufacture essential items will remain open. Also, hotels and homestays, which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, will be used as quarantine facilities.
Earlier, the road transport and highways ministry had advised the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to follow the home ministry's guidelines about toll plaza operations following the lockdown.
The prevailing condition may be treated as "Force Majeure" of concession or contract agreement in terms of the finance ministry, the road transport and highways said.
Meanwhile, the total number of COVID-19 cases in India stands at 626, including 553 active cases, 47 cured/discharged people and 12 deaths.