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Nitin Gadkari: Toll booths to be removed within 1 year

India is currently facing a long queueing issue on the toll plazas because of the newly implemented FASTags. According to Nitin Gadkari, Road Transport and Highways Minister, 93 percent of people have opted for FASTags and the remaining 7 percent will be paying double the toll on the plazas. The minister also said that within a year all the tolls will be removed from the highways. Instead, the toll collection will be done through GPS.

Nitin Gadkari said in Lok Sabha “I want to assure the House that within one year all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging (on vehicles),”

He is also working on the cases of toll thefts. He has already instructed police enquiry for those vehicles which do not pay toll using the FASTags. There have also been cases of GST evasion cases if FASTags are not fitted in vehicles. He also said that newly purchased vehicles will come with FASTags fitted to them, whereas the old vehicles can get FASTags for free from the government.

Long queues at toll plaza

The issue that the toll plazas are facing is because the sensors placed at the plaza is not able to scan the FASTag due to which it is being done manually which takes more time. This leads to forming long queues at the toll plazas. People are becoming frustrated because of this as they have to stand for long durations. NHAI or National Highway Authorities of India is preparing for this. They will be drawing a line that will be distinct in colour. The line will be at every toll lane. Once the queue of cars touches that line, the toll operator would have to open up the toll gate and allow the vehicles of that lane to pass free of cost.

“There is strict live monitoring at the top level and we have been directed to take all necessary steps to ensure commuters pass through toll plazas with the use of FASTag to pay tolls, which has been made mandatory.” said an NHAI official.

The coloured line will vary for every toll plaza. The placement of the line will be dependent on many factors. For instance, the number of lanes the plaza has, traffic flow through the plaza etc. The toll operators have been given strict instruction that they would need to let the traffic pass if the queue hits the line. Various senior officials are monitoring the plazas. “The number of transactions through FASTag has increased to 90% from merely 60-70% even at toll plazas in remote areas. So, now we can’t hide behind any excuse for congestion at toll plazas. Strict monitoring of live data through an IT platform has brought a huge change in the past few days,” said an official.

“If a vehicle user with a valid, functional FASTag or any such device with sufficient balance in the linked account crossing a fee plaza installed with electronic toll collection infrastructure, is not able to pay user fee through FASTag or any such device owing to malfunctioning of electronic toll collection infrastructure, the vehicle user shall be permitted to pass the fee plaza without payment of any user fee. An appropriate zero transaction receipt shall be issued mandatorily for all such transactions.” A notification said that was issued earlier.