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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari Announces End of Toll System

Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has announced the government’s decision to abolish tolls, introducing a new satellite-based toll collection system in its place. Under this system, funds will be deducted directly from bank accounts based on the distance traveled, aiming to streamline the process and save both time and money for commuters. Gadkari highlighted the significant reduction in travel time, citing the example of the Mumbai-Pune route, which now takes only 2 hours compared to the previous 9-hour journey.

Gadkari also discussed the Bharatmala Pariyojana, a project aimed at developing approximately 26,000 km of economic corridors. He emphasized the project’s importance alongside other major corridors like the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) and North-South and East-West (NS-EW) corridors, stating that it will revolutionize the nation’s infrastructure by 2024. Gadkari expressed confidence in elevating India’s National Highway road network to the standard of America, setting ambitious goals for its development.

In December, Gadkari had announced plans for the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to implement the new toll collection system by March 2024, aiming to streamline processes and reduce waiting times at toll plazas. Efforts in this direction have been communicated to the World Bank. The introduction of FASTag has already led to a significant decrease in waiting times at toll plazas, with the average waiting time reduced to just 47 seconds compared to the previous average of 714 seconds.

Despite challenges, construction and expansion activities on National Highways have witnessed a rise of approximately 10% between April and November of the current fiscal year compared to the same period from 2011 to 2023. However, there has been a decline of 52% in the allocation of new construction projects this year.

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