No plan to abolish toll collection on NHs: Centre

No plan to abolish toll collection on NHs: Centre

Vehicles in a long queue at the Attibele toll plaza on Hosur road near Bengaluru. (DH File Photo/Srikanta Sharma R)

Despite the demand to scrap the collection of toll on national highways (NHs), the Centre on Friday made it clear that it has no plan to do away with the existing system.

Instead of removing the toll system, the government will introduce a new mechanism where the road users have to pay charges for only the distance they travelled, Road Transport and Highways Secretary Yudhvir Singh Mallik told reporters.

Abolishing toll collection is not a solution. Since the government is planning massive road projects, the public also benefits from the development of infrastructure, Mallik said.

The truckers' associations have been demanding the government to scrap toll charges and threatened to go on strike to press their demands.

The Ministry of Road Transport has already introduced the new system of allowing the road users to pay toll charges for only the distance they travelled instead of the entire stretch, regardless of their distance. The new system is running on a trial basis on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway on the outskirt of Delhi.

Abolishing the toll system means the government has to pay Rs 1.2 lakh crore to the concessionaires by way of compensation for the toll, Mallik said.

At present there are 412 toll plazas on NHs, of which 220 are on BOT (build-operate-transfer) projects, he said.

The Ministry of Road Transport is also working to introduce an electronic toll collection system in all toll plazas and all lanes to ensure smooth passage of vehicles.

Mallik also said that the government is looking at making all greenfield highways, motorways and new roads in future as "access-controlled" so that the user has to pay for only the distance travelled on the road.

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