New Delhi: The government plans to start an electronic toll collection system on national highways throughout the country by the end of this year.
“Government plans to implement electronic toll collection system (ETC) in the country by 2014,” minister of state for road transport and highways Tushar A Chaudhary told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Thursday.
The announcement comes amid protests against the current toll collection policy in parts of the country by various stakeholders, including transporters.
The Delhi high court on Wednesday ordered the dismantling of a toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, which had caused huge traffic jams.
In response to public demand, the government set up a committee headed by Nandan Nilekani, chairman of the Unique Identification Authority of India, to recommend an ETC system that would ensure seamless movement of vehicles across India’s national highway network, Chaudhary said.
The committee recommended the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) for ETC, he told the Upper House.
“For implementing ETC system on pan-India basis, a new company, Indian Highways Management Company Ltd, has been incorporated,” the minister said. The company inaugurated the system on the Vadodara-Mumbai stretch last year, he added.
Under the system, toll is deducted through RFID chip-embedded stickers placed on vehicles as they cross the plazas. The money collected will be pooled electronically and distributed later to toll plaza operators.
With the introduction of such technology, which is widely used abroad, the government aims to expedite movement of traffic at toll plazas and reduce cash transactions.
Vehicle users currently pay cash to pass through most toll plazas. Various organisations, including the All India Motor Transport Congress, have been pitching for replacement of the present toll-collection system for smooth flow of traffic.
There have been violent protests against the toll system in some parts of the country, including Maharashtra.
In a separate reply to the Upper House, Chaudhary said the ministry is looking into various aspects of the toll collection system in view of recent agitations.