(Judicial Quest News Network)
In a significant development Union Roads & Transport Minster Nitin Gadkari has indicated in a letter addressed to P.Wilson, DMK Rajya Sabha MP, that the user’s fees will be reduced by 60% at nine toll plazas across Tamil naduduring the next revisionStartingin the month of April.
Earlier DMK MP P.Wilson had complained that toll rates are increased every year by the National Highwayys Authority of India (NHAI) mechcanicallyeven after the concessionaire has recovered the capital cost incurred on the road project.In response, Gadkari said he has looked into the matterand toll would be reduced by 60% for public-funded projects as per Section 6(B) of the National Highway FeeRules, 2008.This rule states that toll can be reduced only whenthe project has been recovered.
Presently tamil nadu has 55 toll plazason NHAI-maintained stretches.Out which 23 are public-funded and the restare constructedunder the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model involving private entity, Gadkaris letter mentioned that out these 23 plazas 9 plazas capital cost has been recovered mentione above.
In his letter to Gadkari P.Wilson had suggested that NHAI should engage an independent authority to analyse and audit collections at all toll plazas and immediately remove those located within 60 kmsdistance, acknolwdging this Gadkari had replied, we have decided to solve this problem by using advanced technology.
The 9 toll plazas are on the Tambaran-Tindivaram Highway (Paranur,Athur),Chennai By-pass Road (Vanagarum, Sunapattu), Chennai tadda Highway (Nallur), Chennai-Bangalore Highway(Seriperumbudur, Chennasamudrram) and Madurai trichy Highway (Buthhakudi, Chittampathi).
The new methods opted to find out the solutions for the comutters has been opted through new technologu which will enable the authority to charge the commutters on a proratta basis,based on the distance travelled.
With this new toll management System, distance between toll plazas will be redundant.
In the recent pas NHAI had conducted a hackathon to get the best available tech-driven solutions in this context.
Already a pilot project, based on automatic number plate reading (AMNPR)is under execution and a solution will be deployed after analysing and validating the results. Gadkari wrote to Wilson.
The recent report had also emhesised that in order to ensure seamless movement of traffic through fee plazas and increase transparency in collection of user fee using FASTag, the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme, the flagship initiative of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has been implemented on pan-India basis.
The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) is the Central Clearing House (CCH). There are thirty-six (36) banks (including Public and Private sector banks) engaged as issuer banks for FASTag issuance to road users and fourteen (14) acquirer banks to process the transactions at fee plazas.
The Ministry had mandated fitment of FASTag in M&N categories of motor vehicles with effect from 1st January 2021. Category ‘M’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers. Category ‘N’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods, which may also carry persons in addition to goods. In order to further promote fee payment through digital mode, reduce waiting time and fuel consumption, and provide for seamless passage through fee plazas, Government has declared all lanes of the fee plazas on National Highways to be “FASTag lane of the fee plaza” w.e.f. the midnight of 15th/16th February 2021.