New Delhi: In a bid to keep the supply chain uninterrupted following the demonetization of Rs500 and Rs1000 currency notes, the Union roads ministry on Wednesday suspended payment of toll fees at toll plazas on all the national highways till midnight 11 November by issuing a notice to all the concessionaires and other fee collection agencies.
In addition, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis tweeted that toll collection on all Maharashtra state highways would be suspended till 11 November midnight to ensure smooth movement of traffic. Fadnavis also announced that currency notes of Rs500 and Rs1000 denomination would be accepted at Mumbai Metro ticket counters.
“Had the government not suspended the toll collection for the next two days, the prices of fruits and vegetables would have increased by 3-4 times the current rate due to the disruption in the flow of these commodities to the market," said Ramesh Agarwal, chairman, Agarwal Packers and Movers.
Agarwal said the demonetization will benefit the logistics sector as it will dismantle the widespread corruption in this sector, managing which takes up about 25% of the time of operators.
According to S.P. Singh, senior fellow, Indian Foundation of Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), the move to suspend toll collection for the next two days is welcome because although toll plazas had started accepting Rs500 and Rs1000 notes, they refused to return the change to vehicle owners.
“It’s a historic move taken by our government which will gradually take us towards a digital currency and we will see the plastic card becoming our currency. We are also trying to connect our toll plazas with e-governance which will ensure that people don’t have to stop at the toll points to pay cash and can instead do it online," said Nitin Gadkari, minister of road transport and highways and shipping during an event on Wednesday.
Abhiram Ghadyalpatil from Mumbai contributed to this story.