Centre moots national passage for goods trucks

Vehicles can ply in any state without paying extra toll


According to a proposal before the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, for issuing national permit to commercial goods-carrying vehicles, a one-time annual toll will be collected, and the vehicle will be allowed to ply in any state without being charged any further toll.

Now,  a truck owner pays Rs 20,000 annually, which allows him access to his home state as well as three neighbouring states. For each additional state, he has to pay Rs 5,000 more. As the existing system is known to be onerous, truckers have been demanding that the Centre introduce a single national permit. Under the new format, the Centre will collect toll from truckers through an external agency like the Transport Development Council and distribute it to the states. The proposal also envisages issuing licence for five years.

Though some states have expressed concern over the loss of revenue, the Centre has promised to distribute the funds without inconvenience to states where inter-state trucks ply more.  The reduced toll will not only cut down the operating cost of transporters but also enhance the mobility of goods, a senior official in the ministry told Deccan Herald. The new system may be implemented on April 1, 2010.

The system was recommended by a committee under the chairmanship of Road Transport and Highways Secretary Brahm Dutt. It was constituted after truckers launched a nationwide strike in January this year, pressing for various demands including a single national permit.

A recent government study says a truck loses 119 hours per annum at checkposts—5 per cent of its average annual travelling time of 2,370 hours a year. The total economic cost of such delays is between Rs 3,200 crore and Rs 4,300 crore a year. According to government estimates, more than Rs 6,654 crore can be collected by issuing national permits for trucks.

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