The Indian Toll Collection Machinery Needs An Immediate Revamp

June 15, 2015

With the growth in the number of vehicles the need for expansive roads catering to thousands of vehicles moving across India has become inevitable. However, considering the present situation the current toll system has several drawbacks. Due to the limited number of toll booths and slow collection process, the average waiting time per vehicle is 10 minutes. This results in loses worth thousands of cores of Rupees in terms of fuel wastage. This long  wait time often results in  drivers  getting irritated resulting in  verbal spats and physical fights among people and the toll attendants. Several such incidents have been reported in the press   with some of these  fights  even resulting in the death of the toll plaza attendants.

In addition, there are numerous cases of toll plaza accidents which happen due to the sudden lane changing by drivers for faster clearance. The major reason behind this is that, the security at the tolls is insufficient and it is beyond the traffic police’s control to manage the vast number of vehicles. We keep hearing of many such mishaps at toll plazas which mostly occur due to negligence either on the people’s side or due to lack of control from  the government agencies including the police.. In case of events, where lives are lost, such losses are a  life shattering experience.

As is well known, in such a scenario, the general public is a little hesitant in taking responsibilities of any such mishap. Hence it is incumbent on s the government to come up with an effective plan which bridges the gap between the toll management and the public expectation of the service that they experience. Introduction of an effective toll plaza operation plan by the government, its strict implementation and monitoring which would result in a more efficient and a  more responsive and efficient system could be a good option for easing the challenges associated with the existing  tolling process.

‘Lack of transparency in toll collection’

September 29, 2014

While many consider the concept of toll roads as undemocratic, even those who agree in principle express reservations on the way it is implemented.

The bone of contention has been the provision of an un-tolled alternate route or a service road, giving commuters a choice. However, Surendra Kumar Project Director, of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), Bangalore, told The Hindu that NHAI rules do not mandate providing an alternate route or service road.

Toll roads have not been popular with rural residents as well. Though rules mandate free access to them in a five km radius around the toll gate and access at concessional rate in a 20 km radius, most protests against toll collection have been supported by the locals.

V.M. Manjunath, a writer and artist who lost land when the National Highway 7 was widened, said that residents felt their freedom had been curtailed due to the International Airport and NH 7. Farmer unions have been demanding for non-collection of toll until service roads are provided.

Lack of transparency

“There is a complete lack of transparency in the process of toll collection. Information on traffic at toll plazas and toll collected everyday is not made public. The private investors should not be allowed to loot the public even after recouping their investment. The contracts are time-bound, rather than being bound by the toll amount collected,” said V. Ravichander, an urban expert.

Two recent court orders which stayed toll collection on particular stretches of highways point towards the lack of transparency in toll collection and attempts to make them accountable, activists said.

The Madras High Court recently stayed toll collection on the Vellore stretch of Chennai-Bangalore Highway as road repair work was being undertaken and the road was not in the condition that the developer had promised. The Delhi High Court had earlier in the year ordered the removal of 12 toll-plazas on Gurgaon Expressway.


Source:The Hindu

Anti-toll activists to hold public debate with NHAI

September 12, 2014

The National Highway Toll Collection Opposition Federation will convene a public debate with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials on September 13 at Hanumanahalli toll point on the outskirts of Mulbagal.

Holding ‘irresponsibility and negligence’ of the NHAI and contractors responsible for accidents, the federation has exhorted NHAI officials to participate in the meeting.

It has also issued notices to the Chief General Manager (Technical) and project director of NHAI regional office, Bangalore.

Veteran freedom fighter and president of the federation H.S. Doreswamy will take part in the debate.

In a notice, a copy of which is available with The Hindu , the federation took exception to collecting toll fees without completing works as per the agreement.

The Deputy Commissioner on Tuesday said that a criminal case would be filed against NHAI authorities and contractors for negligence.


Source:The Hindu

Toll exemption planned for Kamothe locals, govt fears backlash from others

September 10, 2014

MUMBAI: The government plans to exempt local residents from paying toll at the plaza that has just come up at Kamothe on the Sion-Panvel Highway. This is probably for the first time that such a move is being contemplated in the state, though the government fears that it could lead to a clamour for similar exemptions from people living near other toll posts in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region. Since the assembly polls are near, the ruling Congresss-NCP combine want to avoid controversies.

The residents of Panvel, Kamothe, Khanda Colony, Kalamboli and nearby areas, who commute daily to Mumbai and Thane via Airoli, want the Kamothe toll post to be removed or their vehicles to be exempted from paying toll. The Vashi and Kamothe posts charge Rs 30 each for a one-way journey, and the two-way total for both amounts to Rs 120 a day.

A panel led by chief secretary Swadhin Kshatriya has submitted the toll exemption recommendation for Kamothe locals to the government for chief minister Prithviraj Chavan’s approval. The panel was set up by the CM following
an agitation by local residents led by legislator Prashant

A source said the CM may prefer to buy time. Around eight lakh people live around the other five toll posts on Mumbai’s entry points, and the government fears that covering all of them before the polls will be a headache.

The toll policy that was approved by the state recently has allowed monthly passes for those living in a 5km periphery of a toll post, the rate being 10 times the one-way toll charge. Thus, each motorist living close to a toll naka needs to pay Rs 300 a month.

If the Vashi toll post is taken into consideration, the monthly payment for a motorist living in Panvel to enter Mumbai would amount to Rs 3,600 once the Kamothe post starts operating.

Source:Times of India

South corpn gets six lanes to collect toll

March 3, 2014

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi


Civic body to reimburse NHAI, IDFC for arrangements; will pay rent for land, toll booths, office


Commercial vehicles entering Delhi on the Jaipur-Delhi expressway will now have to keep towards the left in order to pay toll tax at the toll plaza at Sirhaul. Six out of 16 lanes has been dedicated for the South Delhi Municipal Corporation to collect toll tax.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday accepted a compromise agreement between the corporation and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), under which six lanes on the extreme left of the Delhi-bound carriageway will be kept for toll collection.

The compromise was reached after the High Court ordered the NHAI and South municipal corporation to resolve the matter through discussions, while ordering that the toll plaza at the Sirhaul border be dismantled.

The South corporation had opposed dismantling of the toll plaza, claiming that it would make it impossible for the civic body to collect entry tax from commercial vehicles.

The decision to remove the toll plaza had been taken after long negotiations between the NHAI, IDFC and the erstwhile concessionaire of the expressway, DGSCL.

The court on February 19 had accepted the agreement between the company, IDFC and NHAI, transferring control of the load to an IDFC-led consortium.

The NHAI had then stated that the structure be dismantled to ensure smooth flow of traffic and four lanes be given to the South corporation for toll collection.

The NHAI had also said that it was not responsible for providing the infrastructure for the corporation to collect toll.
As the corporation opposed the move, the court directed the agencies to hold a meeting to discuss the issue and come up with a compromise.

The NHAI and IDFC have agreed that the toll collection booths and islands of the toll plaza will remain as is, while “improvements” would be be taken up to alert the traffic by providing bollards at the nosing of the island. The IDFC has also agreed to install a “traffic calming device” before the approach to the traffic islands.

The South corporation has agreed to reimburse the NHAI and IDFC for the arrangements and will also pay a rent for use of National Highway land, toll booths and office space.

The court of Justice Manmohan Singh in its order on Wednesday accepted the terms of the agreement and asked the Haryana Police to “give the assistance and to do the needful” to implement the agreement.



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.


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.

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.

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