Revamp India’s Road Toll Collection Machinery

March 3, 2014

By The New Indian Express


The entire road toll collection machinery is in need of urgent revamp nationally to improve user experience, cut down on delays and nip in the bud its needless politicisation, even occasional vandalism causing destruction of public property. The whole process has to be expedited and streamlined with comprehensive electronic tolling, complete with conducive driving conditions, including strict enforcement of safety measures, routine highway maintenance and regular patrolling.

The public-private partnerships in highway projects must be policy induced to improve not just road conditions, but also safety given that India now has the dubious distinction of leading in road accidents and fatalities. We need modest, reasonable toll charges for all, irrespective of political and official status to discourage those who like to throw their weight around. Strict and prompt punishment should be meted out to those who do so.

Electronic tolling of vehicles should be spread nationwide in a time-bound manner. Machine-readable, chip-embedded cards need to be made available, and they must be easy to purchase, valid pan-India and capable of remote recharge. If such measures are taken, travelling by road will become a pleasure instead of being an undertaking fraught with danger because of bad roads, reckless driving and the presence of hoodlums who wait for an opportunity to pounce on a traveller who may have lost his way or because his vehicle is giving trouble. As a result, middle class families travelling with women and children generally prefer trains and even planes. In addition to the modernisation of toll booths, more food courts and motels, set in the midst of greenery, are the need of the hour for both domestic and foreign tourists. Given the beauty of the Indian landscape, travellers are bound to hit the roads again if such steps are taken.




Overloaded trucks will now be fined 10 times the toll

March 1, 2014

TNN[ Dipak Kumar Dash ]

  ( Overloading is one of the major causes of road accidentsand fatalities)

NEW DELHI: Truckers carrying goods beyond the permitted load will end up paying 10 times higher toll charges, as per the new norms notified by the government as part of amendment in toll rules for national highways in the country.The notification issued after the Cabinet nod also says vehicles must not be allowed to cross toll plazas unless the driver or owner offloads the extra weight at his own risk and cost. Earlier, rules allowed an overloaded vehicle to pass toll plazas by paying the toll charge specified for the next higher category vehicle.This meant in case a three-axle vehicle was found overloaded, it could pass the toll plaza after paying the charge for a four-axle vehicle. “This penalty was too little. Though the rule also included offloading of extra load, there was hardly any impact. Now, private road developers will have an interest checking overloading as they will get substantial extra revenue,” said an official.

Overloading is one of the major causes of road accidents and fatalities. In 2012, overloading and overcrowding caused almost one lakh accidents and claimed 30,500 lives on Indian roads.

Moreover, a Central Road Research Institute study had shown that with 10% overloading above the permissible limit, the life of roads got reduced by 35% and with 30% overloading, it got reduced by about 65%.

International experts have been pushing for reforms in rules and regulations to make travel safer on Indian roads. Pushing for such reforms, India head of World Health Organization Nata Menabde said last week, “If India can save its children from polio, we are sure that we can save those children than dying on roads later.”

She had said that across the world, road accident was the biggest killer of young population in the age group of 15-29 years.


National Highways Authority of India resumes toll road projects with IRB contract

December 18, 2013

 Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Ashutosh KumarAshutosh Kumar

IRB Infrastructure Ltd has emerged as the preferred bidder for Rs 1,500 crore highway development contract for four-laning of the 98.7 km stretch between Solapur and Yedeshi in Maharashtra from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

A senior NHAI official said, “With the drying up of appetite for the toll-based projects in the last one year, the government had skewed its contract awards towards normal engineering, procurement construction (EPC) basis. Projects like this give an opportunity for asset development in addition to the growth in size for developers.”

The toll project, coming after a gap of almost a year, will be developed on a design build finance operate and transfer model by IRB.

IRB has sought a viability gap funding (VGF) of Rs 189 crore — about 12% of the capital cost of the project — from the NHAI.

In the toll model of the highway funding, the government offers VGF, or upfront grant, to developers, capped at 40% of the project cost. The developer raises the remaining amount in a 60:40 debt equity ratio.

IRB plans to develop the Solapur-Yedeshi section in 910 days. The concession period for this project is 29 years, which means IRB will retain the right on toll revenues from the project for 29 years before transferring the asset to the government.

This project will add up to the companies’ present construction order book of Rs 5,050 crore, which is to be executed in the next two to three years.

The company has 18 toll projects, of which 16 are operational.



Parties disrupt toll collection on Bangalore-Mangalore NH

December 7, 2013


Workers of different political parties on Thursday blockaded the toll booths on the Bangalore-Mangalore national highway at Panemangalore and the newly opened toll booth at Brahmarakootlu, terming it unfair that both booths were collecting toll within a stretch of four kilometres.

Members of Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) gathered outside the Brahmarakootlu toll booth, and prevented operators from collecting toll from vehicles moving on the stretch. The booth had become operational from Wednesday.

“A lot of highway work is pending. The service roads needs to be done up, there is a flyover necessary at Brahmarakootlu. Moreover, what is the need to collect money from motorists from two points so close on the highway?” asked SDPI district secretary Akbar Ali.

The organisation has demanded that persons in the vicinity of the toll booth be exempted from paying toll, and that the toll be lowered to a ‘reasonable’ level.

For more than two hours, collection of toll was suspended at Brahmarakootlu.

Meanwhile, members of the BJP, led by former president of Dakshina Kannada unit of the BJP, K. Padmanabha Kottari picketed the toll booth at Panemangalore. Activists threw aside barricades and ensured that toll was not collected for most of the day.

Toll collection at Panemangalore plaza stopped after protests

December 6, 2013

Stanley Pinto,TNN |

MANGALORE: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) stopped toll collection at the Panemangalore Nethravathi toll booth temporarily on Thursday following protests by BJP, Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) and other organizations.

Residents of Bantwal Taluk had warned NHAI that they will carry out protests if they open a road toll booth at Brahmarakootlu without closing the Panemangalore bridge toll plaza.

Earlier, NHAI had notified that toll collection would commence at Brahmarakootlu on Mangalore – Bangalore National Highway on Thursday.

The BJP took the lead to organize the protest with former MLA Padmanabha Kottari, Rukmayya Poojari, former ZP member Thungappa Bangera and others blocking traffic at Panemangalore toll booth. NHAI officials, who arrived at the spot, held discussions with the BJP leaders and assured them that the uncertainty over the two toll booths will be cleared in three days and they will bring the matter to the notice of their higher ups.

Though some party workers started dismantling the toll booth, the leaders managed to pacify them.

Meanwhile, SDPI members carried out a protest asking NHAI to suspend toll collection till all work pertaining to NH is completed.

The new toll booth at Brahmarakootlu caused traffic jams as the approach road to the toll plaza was narrow. The Brahmarakootlu toll collection, which was stopped due to public protests, resumed after they were given police protection.

A few days ago, the issue was raised at a meeting called by MP Nalin Kumar Kateel with NHAI officials. Social activist Govinda Prabhu had said that Panemangalore bridge toll collection should be stopped as the new toll booth is just five km away from it.

At the meeting the villagers had pointed out that NHAI cannot operate two toll booths within a stretch of 60 km. However, NHAI project director Shriram Mishra had clarified that the restriction on toll gates is separate for roads and bridges.

Pay toll on Padil-BC Road from Thursday

December 3, 2013


MANGALORE: Travel to BC Road from Mangalore is set to get costlier. The National Highways Authority of India has decided to collect user fee on the 18.60 km National Highway Road from December 5 midnight. This will mean that travel- either by bus or own vehicle, barring two wheelers – will become costlier.

While it is Rs 20 for four-wheelers for single journey, it will be Rs 60 for buses. For the return journey within a day, it will be Rs 25 for four-wheelers, barring light commercial vehicles, and Rs 90 for buses. A gazette notification regarding this has already been issued.KSRTC  Mangalore division traffic officer said that the corporation will hike the rates on the route. We will inform the central office and take a call. The maximum for ordinary buses will be Re 1 and Rs 2 to Rs 3 for Airavat buses,” the official said.NHAI gives a concession for buses in the form of a monthly pass for 50 single journeys at Rs 1,975. Four-wheelers have to pay Rs 585 for the passes. However, KSRTC officials said that their frequency is much more than that, especially for ordinary buses on Dharmasthala, Puttur, Sullia and BC Road routes.In anticipation of the hike, NHAI has deployed an agency to repair bad stretches and sand accumulated near the dividers on the road. The work on repairing the bad stretches, which got under way on Saturday will be completed in a fortnight,” said NHAI project director Shriram Mishra.Though the 37 km Surathkal-BC Road was constructed by an agency- Ircon International Limited – the toll collection and maintenance of the stretch will be carried out by different agencies. The toll booths have already been erected near Brahmarakootlu.

PIL dubs toll tax collection in state illegal

November 29, 2013


AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Thursday sought reply from the state authorities concerned over a PIL questioning legality of collection of road tax at toll booths on the national as well as state highways across the state.Advocate K G Pandit has challenged the collection of road tax on all toll plazas on highways on the ground that the tax is collected by agencies authorized by the state government, but due permission for the same has not been obtained from the Centre. A notification issued in 1989 mandates the state government to get a nod from the Union government to authorize any agency to collect tax on roads. “Since no permission for the same has been obtained, the road tax collection going on across the state is illegal and it should be stopped straightaway,” the lawyer has argued.

After preliminary arguments, the court issued notice to the authorities concerned and kept further hearing three weeks later, advocate Pandit said.

Support swells to abolish toll tax

November 21, 2013


Bharuch: The support for citizens’ movement to abolish the toll tax from Zadeshwar toll plaza on national highway 8 near Bharuch is swelling.

On the second day of agitation, large number of people pledged support to the demand to remove toll tax that is causing long and frustrating traffic snarls on the highway.

Voluntary organizations like Lions Club of Bharuch, Rotary Club of Bharuch and Ankleshwar, Stree Niketan and Stree Mandal, JCI Ankleshwar, Ankleshwar, Panoli and Jhagadia Industries Association, Mahavir International and others have joined the movement.

The people shouted slogans to remove the toll tax for an ease traffic movement.

Kamlesh Udani, convener of Bharuch Citizen Council said, “We have given our represenations to Ahmed Patel and asked him to intervene in the matter. We are hopeful of some positive result.”

Bharuch MLA Dushyant Patel also talked to minister for roads and buildings Anandiben Patel and appraised her about traffic situation.

Congress spokesman Nazu Fadwala said, “Ahmedbhai personally met Prime Minister and the result will come out soon in the interest of people.”


Toll tax abolished at Zadeshwar on NH-8

November 19, 2013

Harish Joshi, TNN |

Bharuch: The frustration over daily traffic jams on national highway (NH-8) near Bharuch has once again spilled over on the streets.

On Monday, large number of people gathered at Zadeshwar toll tax plaza demanding abolishing the tax with immediate affect. They said that the tax collection is badly affecting the traffic movement.

Bharuch MLA Dushyant Patel, who is lead the agitation, asked the toll tax contractor to stop collecting tax till new bridge is constructed on Narmada. Daily commuters and people gathered to protest peacefully. The computer and other accessories from toll counters were removed by the contractor and informed National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) officials about demand of people.

Several NGOs under the banner of Bharuch Citizen Council also joined movement.

“Large number travelers get stranded on the highway for for hours in massive traffic jam due to toll tax plaza near Zadeshwar. The tax collection period was over in December 2012 and only one track is operational as old Sardar Bridge declared as non operational. Despite there being no need of tax collection, the time limit was extended till March 2014. The toll plaza itself is big obstacle in traffic movement hence it is in the interest of people to remove the same and stop tolll collection,” he said. N K Patel of Bharuch Citizens Council said, “NHAI officials and politicians are not sensitive enough about this burning issue. They don’t care for the people suffering in traffic and this has led to a movement to remove toll tax.”

Irrespective of political parties, we are going to ask for a time-bound program of construction of damaged bridges near Golden Bridge and Sardar bridge.”

Coming soon: Pay your highway toll through smartphones

November 19, 2013

Mihir Mishra :

Road commuters in the country will soon have the option of making their toll payments through mobile phones or tablets and can avail this service by downloading the application which is set to be available on Android, iOS and BlackBerry platforms.”We have asked the company that is providing the application to test it at our toll plazas and they are to start the pilot on the 114-km-long Tumkur-Chitradurga section of NH-4,” said a senior road transport ministry official.

The application called ‘m-toll’ has been developed by ConnectXcite Mobi India Ltd and will be available for download from December-end.

“The pilot will begin from December-end and the app will also come at the same time. The pilot will be done in two phases. We will start the test with our vehicles initially and move to vehicles using the toll plaza regularly in the second phase,” said Pankaj Chaturvedi, Country head for ConnectXcite in India.

Road users will need to download the application on their mobile phones or tablets and fill in their details. The server, which will be installed at the toll plazas, will detect their mobile phones and the money will be automatically deducted.

“Road users can make the payment through their pre-paid phone balance, post-paid phone account, credit cards, net banking and even cash-based scratch cards that every concessionaire will be authorised to sell,” said Chaturvedi.

Every payment made through other modes, apart from the scratch card sold by the toll plaza operator, will reach the toll plaza operators account in 24 hours from the time payment is made.

“In case three people, with m-toll on their mobiles, are travelling together in a car, all will get an indication to opt for payment. The money will be deducted from the account of the mobile that opts for it. In case no one opts for payment, money will be deducted from the oldest registered mobile phone,” Chaturvedi further explained.

He added that the registered mobile owner will be verified personally in case the handset being used to make payment switches off due some issues.

To ensure smooth passage for commuters at toll plazas, the road transport ministry is also doing a pilot on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.

A committee under Nandan Nilekani has suggested introduction of RFID cards for smooth passage on toll plazas at national highways.

Unlike the mobile system, RFID requires a chip-embedded sticker to be put on the vehicles and money gets deducted at the toll plazas automatically, through which the vehicles pass. Unlike the mobile system, money collected from it is to be pooled electronically at one place and distributed later among all toll plaza operators.


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