The government is looking at new technologies to replace toll plazas in the country and the new system will be introduced in the next six months, Transport minister Nitin Gadkari informed Rajya Sabha on Wednesday. Replying to supplementaries during the Question Hour in the upper house, the minister said toll plazas have created many problems like traffic snarls and long queues, which the government wants to end.
He was responding to questions from members on the issue of toll plazas within 60 km in the same direction which is not as per law. The government, he said, is now searching for two options – a satellite-based toll system where the GPS will be there in a car and the toll will be directly subtracted from the passenger’s bank account and the other option is through number plates.
“We are in the process of introducing GPS instead of FASTag while using satellite and on the basis of which we want to take the toll. Technology is also available on the number plate and there is good technology available in India,” he said. “We will select the technology. Though we have not taken an official decision, in my view on the number plate technology there will be no toll plaza and there will be a sophisticated computerised digital system by which we can give relief. There will be no queues and people will get great relief,” the minister also said.
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But for that, he said, we need to bring a bill to Parliament because if anyone is not paying the toll then there is no law available yet to penalise them. Gadkari said they are in the process of selecting the best technology for the collection of tolls, and will also bring important legislation to Parliament.
“Within six months, I will try my level best to do it as this is the need of the hour. This is important for the people of the country and to rid the problem of traffic,” he said when asked when the new system for toll collection will be brought into effect. Gadkari said number plates with new technology have been introduced and it is mandatory for the manufacturer to have new number plates and there will be a computerised system by which one can collect tolls using new software.
He said that one will have to pay a toll for the exact time of car driven on the tolled highways and only that much toll will be subtracted from the account. “We have not made up our mind as far as selection of technology is concerned. But as early as possible and within a month we will select the technology and we will use all the sophisticated technology of the world by which it will be useful for people and there will be no queues and no problems of traffic,” he told the House.
“As early as possible we will resolve the issue of toll plazas and find a solution to this,” he said. Gadkari also informed that after the introduction of FASTag which is one of the remarkable contributions to the country, toll revenues have risen substantially to Rs 120 crore in a single day. To date, 5.56 crore FASTags have been issued and its penetration is 96.6 percent, he said.