All toll plazas in the country will be removed, and tolls charges will instead be collected through a GPS-based system within a year Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways announced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday. The union minister said that all new vehicles being sold are being fitted with GPS trackers, and the government will provide them for free to owners of older vehicles who do not have one.
Gadkari made this statement while replying to a series of questioned raised by Kunwar Danish Ali, a Lok Sabha member from the Bahujan Samaj Party. Ali had talked about a town in Uttar Pradesh where the toll plaza could be found in the middle of the municipality, and hence was causing problems for its people. Gadkari, in response, admitted to the existence of such toll plazas and blamed it on previous governments. In any case, all toll plazas are going to be removed in the country within a year, he said.
Gadkari also commented on FASTag, the RFID tags mandated on all vehicles in the country. He said that adoption of the tags has reached 93%, a little higher than what his ministry had claimed in a Parliamentary answer earlier this month. He said that FASTag had helped address “theft” in the system. He added that the remaining 7% owners had not yet adopted FASTag for the sole purpose of not wanting to be tracked. I have instructed for police investigation into that, he said.
Transcript of Nitin Gadkari’s address [translated from Hindi]
So it is true that that tolls plazas were built near cities as sweeteners at that time. It was wrong. And it has been decided to remove them.
I assure the House that all tolls will be removed within the year. The meaning of that is that tolls won’t be there, but using GPS — there will be cameras at road entry points which will capture you — we will see where you entered and exited. Only toll charges corresponding to that will be charged. We will finish this within the year.
Also, Speaker sir, I want to tell you a good thing. At these tolls, there were a lot of theft. DUring Covid, the yearly income from tolls was Rs 24,000. That should have Rs 10,000 less, but Speaker sir, we brought in FASTag. FASTag has been adopted by 93%. Now there are 7% people who are paying double toll but won’t use FASTag, even if we give it to them for free. What is the secret behind that, I don’t want to go in detail… Whoever is giving GST, royalty and others, they don’t want records of that. So I have instructed for police investigation over that 7%.
Also, second thing about toll is that on GPS, new cars are getting GPS. In old cars, we will give you for free. There will no problem in that.
Earlier this month, Rajya Sabha BJP MP Sushil Kumar Modi had asked the MoRTH for more information about the GPS-based fee collection system. The ministry replied that the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) had conducted a pilot project study to test its feasibility.
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