Centre assigns officials for 100% e-toll collection

The minister said that of the total 1.4 lakh km highways under NHAI, 24,996 kms are currently under the toll ambit and this will increase to 27,000 kms by the year-end.

Jas toll, on Tumkur Road outskirts of Bengaluru. Photo/ B H Shivakumar

The Centre is deputing officials across states for rollout of electronic toll collection at all NHAI toll plazas pan-India from December 1, 2019, according to a statement.

December 1 onwards, toll payments will be only via FASTag under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme, the flagship initiative of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

The programme is being implemented pan-India to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic.

However, the Centre has decided to keep one lane as hybrid lane which will accept FASTag as well as other modes of payment.

Officials are being posted in states as Central Prabhari Officers (CPOs) for implementing the programme, the ministry said.

These officials will "monitor the preparedness and ensure operation of 100 per cent e-tolling through FASTag" at toll plazas across states, it added.

Under the NETC, toll collection at national highway toll plazas will done through RFID-based FASTags.

"The implementation of 100 per cent ETC will start from December 1, 2019," the ministry said.

Apart from monitoring the preparedness of the rollout, the officials will coordinate with the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in this connection, it added.

Last month, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said the country's toll revenue is likely to swell to Rs 1 lakh crore annually in the next five years on the back of initiatives like NETC.

The minister said that of the total 1.4 lakh km highways under NHAI, 24,996 kms are currently under the toll ambit and this will increase to 27,000 kms by the year-end.

Besides, the GST Council has accorded in-principle approval for integration of GST e-way bill system with FASTags and a pact has also been inked.

As per the NHAI, in the existing system it has been observed that some transporters are doing multiple trips by generating a single e-way bill. Accordingly, an MoU was signed between the Indian Highways Management Committee Ltd and Goods and Services Tax Network.

The integration of e-way bill system with FASTag is expected to help revenue authorities track the movement of vehicles and ensure that they are travelling to the same destination as the transporter/trader had specified while generating the e-way bill. The supplier/ transporter will also be able to track their vehicles through SMS alerts generated at each toll plaza.

As far as FASTags are concerned, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) is functioning as the Central Clearing House and 23 public and private sector banks are issuing these RFID-based tags for vehicles.

A cashback of 2.5 per cent is being offered for 2019-20 in order to incentivise road users for usage of FASTag.

According to the highways ministry, more than 6 million FASTags were issued till September, with overall cumulative ETC collection of over Rs 12,850 crore since inception.

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