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India to hike road toll charges by 3-5% starting Monday

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New toll rates are effective Monday as NHAI implements an annual increase.

NEW DELHI, June 2: India will increase road toll charges across the country by 3-5% starting Monday, following a hold on the annual hike due to the recent general elections, officials announced.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) revises toll charges annually in line with inflation. Highway operators have placed notices in local newspapers, indicating that the new rates will be effective at nearly 1,100 toll plazas from June 3.

“As the election process is over, the revision of user fee (toll) rates, which was put on hold during the elections, will become effective from June 3,” a senior NHAI official told Reuters.

The official explained that increases in toll charges and taxes on fuel products are necessary to fund the expansion of national highways. However, opposition parties and many motorists criticize these annual hikes, arguing that they elevate transport costs for essential commodities and burden commuters.

Highway operators such as IRB Infrastructure Developers and Ashok Buildcon Ltd are set to benefit from the toll increases.

Over the past decade, India has invested billions of dollars to expand its national highways, which now span approximately 146,000 kilometers, making it the second-largest road network in the world.

Toll collections surged to over 540 billion rupees ($6.5 billion) in the 2022/23 fiscal year, up from 252 billion rupees in 2018/19. This increase was driven by a rise in road traffic and the number of toll plazas and charges.

India’s general election concluded on Saturday, with exit polls projecting a significant majority win for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance.

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