CHENNAI: As the pandemic continues to jam truckers and traders association, they had been demanding a waiver of toll fee since April 20. However, thrusting this aside, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to increase the user fee in 20 toll gates from September 1 across the State. The fee will be in increased from Rs 5 to 15 depending on the type of vehicles.
The truckers' association has demanded intervention of Central government, stating that the increase of user fee should not be allowed ‘mechanically’ without considering the present economic crisis.
The toll gates, which stopped collecting the user fee from March 23 in view of the lockdown, resumed functioning on April 20.
Kumaraswamy, president of Tamil Nadu State Lorry Owners Association said, “About 55 to 60 per cent of trucks have resumed operation in the State, but the business is still not viable as the vehicles take double the time for trips. The Centre can extend the toll collection duration,” said Kumarasamy adding that the truckers across India has proposed to pay the annual toll fee at one go and demanded to shut the toll gates, but the Centre has refused to accept it.
“Already the diesel price is hiked, hence the toll fee should not be increased for atleast two years,” said Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners Federation (TNSSLF) president S Yuvraj. Meanwhile, NHAI has granted approval to concessionaires to revise the user fee, as per the contract agreement.
Official sources said the user fee hike is based on wholesale price index in accordance with the provisions of National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008.