Commuters apprehensive as govt works on new method of toll collection

The government is working on a new system for toll collection through automatic number plate reader cameras, which will read vehicle number plates and automatically deduct the toll from the linked bank accounts of vehicle owners.
Toll collection (IANS)
Toll collection (IANS)

The government is working on a new system for toll collection through automatic number plate reader cameras, which will read vehicle number plates and automatically deduct the toll from the linked bank accounts of vehicle owners.

While the purpose is to remove toll plazas on national highways, some commuters are apprehensive that it will force them to adopt a new way to pay toll.

The new system will operate through automatic number plate reader cameras, which will read vehicle number plates and automatically deduct toll from the linked bank accounts of vehicle owners.

Union Road, Transport, and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari while talking to a newspaper recently said that a pilot of this scheme is underway and legal amendments to facilitate this transition are also being moved.

"In 2019, we made a rule that cars will come with company-fitted number plates. So, the vehicles that have come in the last four years have different number plates. Now, the plan is to remove toll plazas and put cameras, which will read these number plates and toll will be deducted from the account directly. We are also doing a pilot of this scheme," said the minister.

The minister mentioned that there is no provision under the law to penalize the vehicle owner who skips the toll plaza and does not pay.

"We need to bring that provision under the law. We may bring in a provision for cars that do not have these number plates to get them installed within a certain period. We will need to bring in a Bill for this," he added.

Earlier, during a Question Hour in the Upper House in the first week of August, the Minister said toll plazas have created many problems like traffic snarls and long queues, which the government wants to end.

He said the government is looking for two options -- satellite-based toll system where the GPS will be there in a car and the toll will be directly subtracted from the passenger's bank account and the other option through number plates.

"We are in the process of introducing GPS instead of FASTag while using satellites and based on which we want to take the toll. Technology is also available on number plates and there is good technology available in India," he said.

"We will select the technology. Though we have not taken an official decision, in my view on the number plate technology, there will be no toll plaza and there will be a sophisticated computerized digital system by which we can give relief. There will be no queues and people will get great relief," the minister also said.

However, some commuters expressed their concern that it will ultimately force vehicle owners to go for another way to pay the toll.

"I think there is hardly any need for the change. Most of the toll plazas don't experience any traffic jams in Fastag lanes. It is not clear whether we need to install some new device for this. Moreover, for older vehicles, now, it will be necessary to change the number plates," said Vivek Singh, a south Delhi resident. (AA/IANS)

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