Don't charge toll if you can't offer good roads: Gadkari to highway agencies

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) collects toll fees and maintains India's highway network along with other agencies.India currently use
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Mumbai Goa Highway
Condition of the newly-constructed Mumbai-Goa Highway, also known as MH66. An aerial view shows several potholes along the 84-Km stretch between Panvel to Indapur.
Mumbai Goa Highway
Condition of the newly-constructed Mumbai-Goa Highway, also known as MH66. An aerial view shows several potholes along the 84-Km stretch between Panvel to Indapur.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has urged highway agencies in India to stop charging toll fees on roads that are not up to their standards. The Minister for Road Transport and Highways, under which the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) operates, said this amid several reports of highways in poor condition where hefty toll fees are charged to commuters. Gadkari's remark came as the Centre plans to change the toll management system which will replace the existing RFID-based FASTag technology and move to a more seamless GPS-based technology soon.

Speaking at an event recently, Gadkari pointed out that highway agencies across India, led by the NHAI, are in a rush to start collecting toll fees from users soon after the road project is complete. The minister wants the agencies to ensure good quality service first before initiating toll fee collection. The NHAI recently revised the toll fees on national highways by increasing the amount by five per cent earlier this month.

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Also Read : How the upcoming GPS-based toll system will work

Taking aim at highway agencies who charge tolls on broken or incomplete roads, Gadkari shared his advise to avoid ire of commuters. He said, “You should collect the user fee where you provide the best quality road. If you collect toll on roads with potholes, mud, then there will be a backlash from people." His remarks becomes significant days after the Mumbai-Goa highway, also known as the MH66, was found ridden with potholes days after its reconstruction.

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Gadkari has also urged the highway agencies to rethink their decision to charge toll fees from buses. The minister said that state-transport buses should be exempted from paying toll.

According to Gadkari, India's highway toll collection is expected to increase by at least 10,000 crore once the new GPS-based toll management replaces FASTags. The new system will render physical toll plazas useless as it will offer a barrier-free toll gate while charging toll against vehicles using the highways based on actual distance covered by it.

First Published Date: 27 Jun 2024, 10:59 AM IST
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