Sunday, July 14, 2024

NHAI’s Satellite-Based Tolling System Set to Transform India’s National Highways by March 2024

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) is set to introduce satellite-based tolling systems on the country’s national highways, as announced by Nitin Gadkari, the Minister for Road Transport and Highways. The new system is expected to be implemented by March 2024. Gadkari highlighted significant advancements, informing the World Bank about reduced waiting times at toll plazas due to the successful implementation of FASTag, with average wait times dropping from 714 seconds to just 47 seconds.

During a recent discussion with World Bank representatives, the Indian government outlined its strategies for further improving infrastructure. Despite a notable 10% increase in the construction and expansion of National Highways in the first nine months of the fiscal year compared to the period between 2011 and 2023, the allotment of new projects for construction has declined by 52% this year.

Data from the road transport ministry reveals that agencies within the road transport and highways ministry have completed or expanded 5,248 km of National Highways by November, surpassing the 4,766 km achieved during the same period last year. However, achieving the government’s target of constructing and expanding approximately 12,000 km by the end of the financial year seems challenging, given the significant slowdown in the pace of bidding for new projects.

In the April-November period of 2022-23, agencies bid for 5,382 km of work, while this year, bidding has only reached 2,815 km. Concerns have been raised about the delay in the approval of the revised Bharatmala Phase-1 or alternate programs, impacting project bidding. The finance ministry’s instruction to the road ministry not to initiate new projects under Bharatmala without fresh cabinet approval may affect the development of over 8,000 km of National Highway stretches under the government’s flagship program.

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