Leverage of toll on national highways will add to financial strain, say transport bodies
The Centre’s decision to start toll collection on national highways from April 20 can have a grave impact on prices of goods causing substantial increase in prices, say various transport associations. According to them, the toll adds up to eight to 20 per cent of the operation costs, which when added to the product cost, will increase the price.
“In these troubling times, our industry is already facing a manpower crunch which is causing delay in services. The entire transport fraternity is financially broke strained and does not have the financial capacity for operations and to get more drivers. Yet the government, instead of extending a helping hand is burdening us with toll charges. The government must reconsider its decision,” said Rajendra Kapoor, president Delhi Goods and Transport organisation.
The All India Transporters Welfare Association has written a letter to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to reconsider the decision. AITWA is an association of road transport companies. The government had on March 25 announced temporarily suspending toll collection on national highways to ease emergency services in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
“All the companies have trucks but there is no one to drive them, we are giving incentives to drivers to drive the trucks and bearing the high costs. Our industry is already facing several huge challenges and the government should show leniency in such a tough time. There is hardly any margin of profit for us. However, we continue to work considering it our national duty to continue supply of goods to cities. But the toll tax decision will put a lot of financial pressure on us. It should at least be delayed till the lockdown ends,” said Pradeep Singal, chairman of AITWA.
Request to reconsider decision
The All India Transporters Welfare Association (AITWA) in its letter to Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has requested the government to reconsider the decision and reduce the burden on the ailing transport sector.