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Road ministry offers sops to bring states on board for electronic tolling

Jyotika Sood
At present only 25 state toll plazas offer electronic tolling across the states highways in Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh

New Delhi: In an attempt to make tolling electronic across all toll plazas on both national and state highways in India, the road ministry along with National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) is ready to bear the 50% of capital expenditure for setting up the systems.

The move is being taken under National Electronic Toll Collection Program (NETCP) which is being run by Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL), a company promoted by NHAI.

Under the scheme, IHMCL will bear 50% of capex costs of electronic toll collection infrastructure installation at toll plazas, subject to capping up of Rs 20 lakh per toll plaza for at most two dedicated lanes, one in each direction. In return the state will bear 50% capex costs, and operations and maintenance of the toll plazas. The scheme will be applicable till March 2020, subject to further extension.

As per the program, the percentage of program management fees shall be based on electronic toll collected. The breakup of program management fees amongst various stakeholders such as acquiring entity, issuing entities, NPCI and IHMCL will be based on mutual agreements.

The state governments would be required to submit proposals for the program with a prediction of at least two years of operations and maintenance costs.

A senior government official on condition of anonymity said, “The government wants to promote the idea of ‘one tag, one nation'. Since FASTags are being used for electronic tolling across highways, public has to wait on state toll plazas which increases the turnaround time and beats the basic idea of quick movement across toll plazas.” He added that FASTags architecture solution at present supports 3.8m million FASTags with daily transaction of Rs 17.5 crore till date.

As per government estimates, there are around 500 state toll plazas apart from 450 on national highways in the country. At present only 25 state toll plazas offer electronic tolling across the states highways in Telangana, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.

Currently, NHAI has around 27% of its tolling switched to FASTags and aims to increase the transactions to around 50% amounting to a financial transaction of around Rs 12,500 crore by March 2019.