For the past few months, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) and Mumbai Entry Point Infrastructure Developers, the company in charge of toll collection at the Bandra Worli Sea Link, have been receiving several correspondences from owners of bullet-proof cars.
Their grouse, officials say, is that despite wanting to take advantage of the electronic toll payment option to breeze past the toll collection booth, they are unable to make use of the facility because the current Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology does not work for bullet-proof cars.
Jayant Mhaiskar, managing director of Mumbai Entry Point, said, “We had specific requests from bullet-proof car users about this. One of them is Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani. The current RFID tags don’t work for bullet-proof cars. We are procuring special tags that can work on such cars.”
An MSRDC official who did not wish to be named said the corporation, too, had received four-five letters on the matter. “The users are all high profile. We have passed on the letters to Mumbai Entry Point. The company was looking out for a suitable technology that can work for bullet-proof cars as well,” he said.
The corporation and the toll collection company had introduced electronic toll collection using RFID technology in August 2012 on two dedicated lanes – one on the side of traffic towards Worli and the second on the Bandra-bound side of the sea link. According to its website, Mumbai Entry Point has sold more than 15,000 RFID tags so far.
Using this technology, a censor reads the tag pasted on the vehicle. Once the tag is found valid, it activates a green signal and opens the barricade for the car to pass. This eliminates the need to wait for 40-50 seconds at the toll booth, hand over cash, wait for change and collect the toll receipt. Motorists can buy this tag at the toll collection booth located on the Bandra end of the sea link.
Mumbai Entry Point is also working towards covering the entire 5.6-km sea link with surveillance cameras. The sea link has been criticised for lack of security and has also become a suicide spot since it was opened in 2009. “The Mumbai Police have recommended a plan for securing the sea link with CCTV cameras so as part of our toll collection contract we have set aside a one-time expenditure of Rs 3-3.5 crore in this regard,” said Mhaiskar.