While the method of toll collection through FASTAGs has been profitable for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MORTH), the Central Government is contemplating more efficient ways of toll collection to reduce congestion at toll plazas. According to Nitin Gadkari, Cabinet Minister for Road Transport and Highways, the Central Government is working on abolishing toll plazas in the country in the next six months to give the general public relief from the long queues at the toll plazas.
During an assembly session in Rajya Sabha, Gadkari said that MORTH is working on new options like a satellite-based toll system, which will debit the toll amount from a passer-by’s bank account through the GPS installed in his/her car. He also described an alternative method of following a computerized system, which will read the number plate of a passer-by’s vehicle for toll collection. He also said that it is the latter method of toll collection by reading number plates which he prefers.
The Central Government is working on both these alternatives, and one of these two methods will be finalized in a month. For the implementation of such an advanced method of toll collection, the Central Government will introduce a bill in the parliament, which will also include enforcing penalties for the people who fail to pay toll taxes.
FASTAG is a success
While speaking in the parliament, Gadkari also appreciates the FASTAG-based toll collection, which uses the RFID method for toll collection. He said that the National Highways Authority of India’s daily collection of toll amounts is around Rs 120 crore per day. He also added that around 5.56 crore FASTAGs have been issued to the general public ever since the commencement of toll collection through FASTAG.
The FASTAG method of toll collection was introduced in 2019 as an attempt to decongest the long queues which line up at the toll plazas. While this idea proved to be efficient in the ease of paying the toll amounts digitally, it has not solved the problem of decongesting the toll plazas wholly. There are instances when many of us can still see long queues at toll plazas, despite the implementation of FASTAG method.
It looks like the Central Government has understood this concern and is working on finding a better alternative in the form of the two new methods spoken about by Nitin Gadkari. The new method of toll collection is expected to start sometime within the next six months.