India to increase road toll charges from Monday

By Manoj Kumar

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India will hike road toll charges across the country by 3-5% from Monday, officials said, after putting the annual increase on hold in April due to the country's general elections.

Toll charges in India are revised annually in line with inflation and highway operators put notices in local newspapers announcing hikes of 3% to 5% at nearly 1,100 toll plazas from Monday.

"As the election process is over, the revision of user fee (toll) rates, which was put on hold during the elections, would become effective from June 3," a senior official at the National Highways Authority of India told Reuters.

The official said hikes in toll charges and taxation on fuel products help pay for the expansion of national highways, but opposition parties and many motorists criticise the annual rise in charges, saying they increase transport costs of essential commodities and burden commuters.

High operators like IRB Infrastructure Developers and Ashok Buildcon Ltd will benefit from the toll increases.

India has invested billions of dollars over the last decade to expand the national highways, with a total length of about 146,000 kilometres, the second-largest global road network.

Toll collections jumped to more than 540 billion rupees ($6.5 billion) in the 2022/23 fiscal year from 252 billion in 2018/19, helped by a rise in road traffic as well as by increases in the number of toll plazas and charges.

India's general election concluded on Saturday with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led alliance projected to win a big majority, TV exit polls showed.

($1 = 83.4240 Indian rupees)

(Reporting by Manoj Kumar; Editing by Susan Fenton)