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Cash crisis: Exemption deadline of utility bills, toll & airport parking fee waiver extended

Cash crisis: Exemption deadline of utility bills, toll & airport parking fee waiver extended
No toll would be charged on National Highways till the midnight of November 18, with the government on Monday extending the earlier deadline by four days.

“The government has decided to extend the deadline till midnight of November 18,” an official told media.

The official said the decision has been taken to ensure smooth traffic movement across all National Highways and provide relief to cash-starved people who are queueing up outside banks and ATMs after Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were demonetised.

Instructions have been issued to all concessionaires, including BOT, OMT operators and other fee collection agencies, about the extension of toll suspension date.

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced ban on Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes to tackle corruption and black money, government had on November 9 said that no toll fee would be collected on National Highways till November 11 midnight. The deadline was again extended till November 14 midnight.

The government had earlier decided to accept the withdrawn notes at toll plazas till November 11 midnight but that led to chaos in the absence of adequate change, causing massive traffic jams.

“We reviewed the situation and decided to suspend the collection of fees,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said.

When asked about the loss due to non-collection of toll fee, Gadkari said the government will bear it.

Meanwhile, the government has also extended use of old defunct Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes for paying household utility bills, fuel, taxes and fees and purchases from co-operative stores till November 24.

While withdrawing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes from the night of November 8-9, the government had allowed use of the old currency at government hospitals, railway ticketing, public transport, airline ticketing at airports, milk booths, crematoria/burial grounds and petrol pumps for 72 hours.

This list was later expanded to include payments for metro rail tickets, highway and road toll, purchase of medicines on doctor prescription from the government and private pharmacies, LPG gas cylinders, railway catering, electricity and water bills and ASI monument entry tickets.

As banks struggled to give alternate currency, the deadline was extended by another 72 hours. That deadline was to end at midnight tonight, but has now been extended till November 24, official sources said.

Old currency can also be used for purchases at consumer co-operative stores like Kendriya Bhandar with valid ID proof as also for paying court fee.

But payments towards utility bills will be restricted to only individuals or households for arrears and/or current bills. No advance payments will be allowed.

Government on Monday said parking charges at airports across country are being waived till the midnight of November 21, as people continue to face difficulties in tendering change following the demonetisation of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

The directive would be applicable on both Airports Authority of India (AAI) as well as privately operated aerodromes.
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