In a surprise move which is surely going to bring smile thousands, Government of India Road Ministry has announced to shut down 125 toll plazas across the country. Of these 125 toll plazas, 61 have already been closed.
Union Minister for Road Transport Nitin Gadkari has said that around 125 toll plazas on some highways in the country will be removed by the end of February. Most of these toll plazas are public funded toll plazas. The Ministry has already recognized 74 of such public funded toll plazas, of which 61 have already been shut down. Apart from these, the Ministry also plans to close down toll plazas which have been put up on road projects that have come up at a cost of less than Rs 100 crores, under public-private partnership.
So what’s the catch here? Well its all good news for those who have already bought cars. Its the new car buyers who will have to shell more, if this proposition is given green signal. The money foregone by the government is to be collected from car buyers in the form of 2 percent surcharge per car.
Apart from this, the government is also looking at a system where they will forego toll from passenger vehicles! The reason being, passenger cars generate far lesser revenue in toll collection, as compared to transport vehicles. In 2013, toll collected from passenger cars amounted to Rs 1,600 crores, whereas toll collected from commercial vehicles amounted to Rs 11,400 crores, this in spite of the fact that passenger vehicles amount to almost 50% of the traffic on Indian highways.
A study by IIM Calcutta and Transport Corporation of India revealed that if the Road Ministry forego toll collection from passenger vehicles, and introduced Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) booths at all toll plazas, they will register a savings of up to Rs 88,000 crores, which is currently wasted in the form of jams, time, and fuel. This amount is far more than what the Ministry is currently collecting in the form of toll from passenger cars.
via Economic Times