On Thursday, the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways Nitin Gadkari told Lok Sabha that the Centre is planning to remove all physical booths within a year. “I want to assure the House that within one year, all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging (on vehicles),” he said.
This will come as a huge relief for commuters across the country who spend countless hours in traffic jams leading up to toll booths.
Gadkari mentioned that 93 per cent of the vehicles pay toll using FASTag, but the remaining 7 per cent have still not taken it despite paying a double charge. He instructed police inquiry into those vehicles which do not pay toll using FASTags as there had been instances of toll theft and GST evasion involving commuters that do not use the automatic toll plaza payment system.
FASTag is an electronic payment method at toll plazas that was introduced in 2016. It is operated by the National Highway Authority of India. From February 16, vehicles without FASTag are required to pay double the regular charge at electronic toll plazas across the country. The decision was taken to further promote fee payment through the digital mode that reduces waiting time and fuel consumption. It would also help in ensuring that vehicles pass seamlessly through the toll plazas.
New vehicles come with FASTag fitted in them and the government said that it will give provide FASTags for old vehicles.
Gadkari also said that if a commercial vehicle failed to get a fitness clearance, they will be de-registered after 15 years. “If a commercial vehicle failed to get a fitness clearance, they will be de-registered after 15 years. Private vehicles will be de-registered after 20 years if found unfit or in case of a failure to renew registration certificates,” he said.