New Delhi: Toll collection on national highways is likely to fall by 25 to 30 per cent in May over last month as a fall out of the lockdown and restrictions imposed by several states to contain the spread of coronavirus, according to rating agency ICRA.
In April too, toll collection fell by 10 per cent over March. However, with fall in number of Covid cases from third week this month, states are expected to relax lockdown restrictions in a gradual manner, said Rajeshwar Burla, Co-Group Head and Vice President for Corporate Ratings at ICRA.
"We expect the toll collections to ramp-up from June onward," he said.
In 2019-20, toll collection in the national highways stood at Rs26,851 crore as against Rs24,396 crore a year earlier.
ICRA arrived at the projection based on a study on toll collections data for 29 projects spread across 11 states over March 1 to May 10.
The study said Maharashtra is the worst-hit state with lockdown restrictions having started earlier than other states due to which de-growth has been higher in April.
For Rajasthan, most projects in sample have higher proportion of passenger vehicles as they cater to tourist destinations.
Thus the impact on toll collections has been much sharper due to restrictions imposed on people's movement.
Unlike the earlier COVID wave where there was a nationwide lockdown and toll suspension, this time the nature of lockdowns is more regional with relaxations to both manufacturing and construction activities besides movement of goods.
As a result, the impact on overall toll collections is expected to be less severe when compared to last year.
"Despite hitting a speed breaker in the form of second wave of COVID, toll road projects are expected to witness low teen revenue growth in FY22 on the back of low base and inflation linked increase in toll rates," said Burla.