Users of national highways in the country can expect a hassle-free passage across all toll plazas from April next year,as the road transport ministry has announced plans to implement electronic toll collection on all tolled national highways.
At a panel discussion on next-generation tolling and corridor management,organised by Feedback Infrastructure,road transport minister CP Joshi announced the deadline. We have recently incorporated a company called Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL),for implementation of nation-wide electronic toll collection (ETC). The government of India is also amending the Central Motor Vehicle Rules,1989,for fitment of RFID tag on vehicles by the automobile manufacturers, Joshi said.
Joshi also added that implementation of ETC will not only make traveling convenient but will also have a lot of other benefits. With the implementation of ETC,we will see a lot of changes happening in the way projects are bid. Computerisation of tolling will also give a clear and transparent picture on tolls, he said.
Around 50 per cent of the firm will be owned by companies in the sector. Another 25 per cent will be owned by financial institutions and the rest will be owned by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). We have given more representation to private players in the company. In fact,this is their company and the governments job is only of a facilitator. Almost all large companies have shown interest in this venture…, said JN Singh,chairman of IHMCL and member (finance) of NHAI. The company has a paid-up capital of Rs 30 crore,which will be enhanced in due course according to the requirement and will have eight members,including the chairman.
IHMCL will start the process by setting up a Central Clearing House (CCH) for nation-wide ETC interoperability and infrastructure for tag distribution. The company is in the process of inviting Request for Qualification (RFQ) for short listing agencies for implementing end-to-end Turn-key ETC on pan-India basis.
Maintenance firms to be under lens
Soon,companies responsible for maintaining tolling and operations of various stretches and toll plazas will be penalised in case services provided are not of a particular standard. The standards are mentioned in the agreements signed between the government and road developer or operations and maintenance contractor.
There are various services standards mentioned in the agreements,which the company that maintains the toll plaza and stretch has to provide. In case of a company not being able to provide that quality of service,it will be penalised, said J N Singh,chairman of Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL).