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Mobility restrictions to rein in the spread of Covid-19 have caused a 10% dip in April in month-on-month toll collection through Fastag on national highways in, Yes Securities has said.
Toll collection through the electronic Fastag mode was made mandatory from February 15. Around 95% of the total toll collection of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is through Fastag, which has more than three crore users.
According to the brokerage firm, toll collection through Fastag in April fell to Rs 2,780 crore as a result of a decline of around 15% month-on-month in transactions, which stood at 164 crore during the month.
“With lockdowns/ partial lockdowns in several parts of the country, mobility has taken a hit which has impacted toll collections,” Alok Deora, vice president, Yes Securities, said.
However, he said user fee collections are expected to move back to the growth track from July as the Covid-19 impact settles and mobility improves.
Toll collection on the national highways stood at Rs 26,851 crore in 2019-20 as against Rs 24,396 crore a year earlier.
Toll collection took a severe hit in April last year because of the nationwide lockdown. Deora said since the restrictions this year have not been as severe as last April, toll collections have only marginally come down compared to the March collections.
“Over the past few months, toll collections have seen a sharp rise with improvement in economic activities and government’s push towards electronic toll collections,” he said.
A continuous decline in the figure might hit NHAI’s operational asset monetisation programme, crucial for the authority to pare debt that stood at about Rs 3 lakh crore, at the end of 2020-21, and to develop highways.
As per the 2021-22 Budget documents, NHAI could raise Rs 10,000 crore through monetisation of operational highway projects in the current fiscal. NHAI has already submitted required documents with market regulator SEBI to raise at least Rs 5,100 crore through its first InvIT. In addition, a couple of tranches of toll-operate-transfer model will also be tried out. Fund raising through securitisation of toll will also be done in the current fiscal.