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Road traffic, toll collections ramp up better than expected in Apr-Nov: ICRA


New Delhi: Traffic ramp up in FY2021 till November was much faster than anticipated but the overall reduction in toll collections for national highways could be in the range of 5-7 per cent in FY2021, ICRA rating agency said in a note on Tuesday.

The rating agency’s estimate for the reduction toll collection for the fiscal is narrower than its earlier estimate of a 10 per cent de-growth. Toll road assets are one of the few infrastructure asset classes which bounced back strongly post the covid-19 induced shock which demonstrates the resilience of Indian toll roads.

“Toll collections have witnessed a marked improvement on the back of increased movement of both passenger and commercial vehicles which have picked up significantly over the last three months thereby surpassing pre-covid levels,” ICRA said.

ICRA said in the note, the government of India’s unlocking measures and relaxations, starting Unlock 3.0 from August onwards has been the inflexion point for toll collections. “In Unlock 4.0 the states could no longer impose lockdowns and border sealing was not permitted. This along with festive season supported the growth in toll collections, peaking at 16 per cent on a year-on-year basis in October 2020 implying a traffic growth of around 12 per cent. In November, the toll collections have further witnessed a 10 per cent Y-o-Y growth which has sustained in the first week of December 2020,” the report said.

Traffic had remained subdued even after the resumption of tolling from April 20. The unabated rise in Covid-19 infections in the unlock phase, localised re-imposition of lockdowns in several states, and heavy monsoons in many parts of the country also interrupted the recovery in commercial traffic till July 2020.

ICRA said it considered sample data from 11 states with Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Telangana accounting for 63 per cent of the total sample.

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