New Delhi, March 25: Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari announced the suspension of tolls at national highways across India to ensure smooth passage to vehicles supplying essential items. In a statement issued by the Minister on Wednesday, he said the measure is being taken amid the nationwide coronavirus lockdown to prevent obstructions to vehicles supplying foodgrains, ration and other crucial items. Check All Updates Related to Coronavirus Outbreak in India and Other Parts of The World.

Gadkari further added that the relaxation in tolls is also aimed at providing smooth passage to vehicles providing critical services including ambulances. With no tolls in place, the time taken in transporting essential commodities and providing emergency services would be reduced drastically, he said. Complete Lockdown in India: MHA Sets Up Helplines to Address Challenges Faced by Transporters For Supply of Essential Goods.

"In view of COVID-19, it has been ordered to temporarily suspend the collection of toll at all toll plaza across India. This will not only reduce inconvenience to the supply of emergency services but also save critical time," the Transport Minister was reported as saying.

Update by ANI

The number of coronavirus infections in India surged to 606, as per the numbers declared by the Union Health Ministry in its press briefing earlier in the day. The death toll was declared as 10, but two more deaths linked to coronavirus were reported following the press conference. A woman each in Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat succumbed to the infection later on Wednesday, taking the overall fatality count to 12 in India.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Mar 25, 2020 11:45 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website