New Delhi: To deal with the chaos at toll plazas arising out of the government’s junking Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes, the government on Wednesday suspended fee collection on all booths at National Highways till the midnight of November 11.
“We have issued instructions to suspend collection of fees on all toll plazas on National Highways till November 11 midnight,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in New Delhi.
The government, he said, had earlier decided that the withdrawn Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes would be accepted at plazas till November 11 midnight but that lead to chaos in the absence of adequate change, causing massive traffic jams.
“We reviewed the situation and decided to suspend the collection of fees,” the minister said.
On being asked as to how the government plans to tackle the loss arising out of the non-collection of fee, Gadkari said government will bear it.
As per an official statement, “Instructions in this regard are being issued to all the concessionaires including BOT, OMT operators and other fee collection agencies.”
It said, “The decision has been taken in order to avoid difficulties that may be faced by the highway users following instructions by the Ministry of Finance yesterday that currency notes of the denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1000 will no longer be legal tender from 12.00 am today.”
Earlier in the day, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Chairman Raghav Chandra had taken up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office after being flooded by calls from states over the grim situation at toll plazas. It was decided that Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 denomination notes would be accepted at toll plazas till November 11 midnight.
“Several Chief Secretaries including Chief Secretaries of Haryana and Gujarat besides commuters contacted us about the situation. Many travellers narrated their plights,” he said.
NHAI, he added, was monitoring the situation so that commuters are able to travel without any inconvenience.
Declaring a “decisive” war against black money and corruption, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last night announced the government decision to ban Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes from last midnight.
In his first televised address to the nation two-and-a- half-years after assuming office, he also announced a 50-day window from November 10 to December 30 for those having these notes to deposit them in their bank and post office accounts “without any limit”.