The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari has announced that tolls across National Highways have been suspended till the midnight of November 11, 2016. The decision was taken after huge traffic jams were reported at toll booths, after the PM Narendra Modi declared the existing Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes as invalid. The move is aimed at curb the hoarding of black money, but the sudden announcement left many people with money they could not use.
Many motorists were seen arguing with toll operators as they only had Rs 500 or Rs 1,000 notes to pay the toll fees. While all 365 tolls were accepting the notes, they soon ran out of change which led to chaos.
National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chairman Raghav Chandra apprised the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as well as Finance Ministry about the situation, and the decision to wave the toll fees was taken to ease the congestion on the highways. Earlier in the day, Chandra had received numerous calls from commuters as well as toll operators, complaining about the grim situation.
A similar decision was also taken by the Government of Maharashtra which announced that all state road tolls have been suspended until November 11, 2016. This also includes the Bandra-Worli Sealink.
All of Mumbai's entry and exit points witnessed long queues. The traffic at the toll booths on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway stretched for kilometres. Many harrowed commuters took to social media and requested the authorities to provide some reliefs from the never-ending queues.