Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seamless transit at all highway toll plazas by 2014

The Government is working on a plan which would bring an end to long vehicular traffic at the national highways' toll plazas with the help of electronic collection system, a move that will save Rs. 87,000 crore a year.

"Within two years we intend to bring all toll roads under the electronic collection system," Road Transport and Highways Minister C P Joshi told PTI.

The system, which has already been made operational on pilot basis at Chandimandir near Panchkula on the Delhi-Parwanoo highway, the toll is paid electronically.

It works through Radio Frequency Identity (RFID), which is given to the vehicle by embedding a smart chip, which can store value like the pre-paid mobile cards.

Doing away with the manual system, the RFID would enable toll collection without making the vehicle stop.

"Inexpensive sticker tags with unique IDs would be fixed on the windshield of the vehicle. Simultaneously all toll plazas on National Highways will be equipped with the system to read this tag," Joshi said.

Joshi said, the present manual system of toll collection suffers from several loopholes.

"There are many complaints of overcharging and undercharging. There is a congestion and crowding of vehicles at toll booths leading to wastage of time and fuel," he said.

According to a study by the Indian Institute of Management, Kolkata, and the Transport Corporation of India, delays at toll plazas cost the economy an estimated Rs. 87,000 crore every year.

Joshi said the initiative follows recommendations of a high-level committee, headed by Chairman of Unique Identification Authority of India, Nandan Nilekani.

The country at present has about 10,000 km of National Highways under toll with about 200 manual collection centres.