The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) resumed toll collection on national highways from Monday. It comes as India is slowly easing the restrictions brought in to contain the coronavirus pandemic from today in order to revive stalled economic activities.
The NHAI had suspended toll collection on all national highways after the 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24.
Toll collection was also resumed at Badarpur toll plaza in New Delhi and Vashi toll plaza in Mumbai. Toll employees were seen back to work.
India is under a nation-wide lockdown with was imposed on March 25 and later extended on April 14 to stem the spread of coronavirus which has claimed over 500 lives in the country.
In his address on April 14, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of lockdown till May 3 and also said that restriction will be relaxed in places where there is no hotspot after April 20 soon.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on April 15 released new Lockdown Guidelines for the country listing select economic activities that will be allowed to function after April 20 only after the review of the COVID-19 situation in India.
Notably, the MHA had said that the revised guidelines will not apply in containment zones, as demarcated by States.
The exemptions given by the Ministry are:
1. People working in MNREGA, especially those involved in irrigation and water conservation activities, can resume their duties while maintaining social distancing and wearing masks.
2. Farming industry will remain open. The states/Uts will have to ensure decentralisation in the procurement and marketing of the harvest.
3. Animal husbandry, fishing industry and horticulture industry will be open. The supply chain of the animal husbandry will now be open.
4. Rural industries, especially food processing industries will now be open.
5. Health services will continue as earlier.
6. The essential goods supply chain will continue to function.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in India reached 16,116 and the death toll climbed to 519, till 5 PM (IST) on Sunday.
This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.