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Nitin Gadkari: 'If you can't provide quality roads, don't charge toll'

At a global workshop on satellite-based tolling in New Delhi, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said tolls shouldn't be charged on poor-quality roads. He emphasized providing good roads before tolling to avoid public backlash.

By Rashaad Ather
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Nitin Gadkari - Minister Of Road And Highways Of India

Nitin Gadkari - Minister Of Road And Highways Of India

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Union Minister Nitin Gadkari recently said in New Delhi that highway agencies should not charge tolls if roads are not in good condition. The Road Minister spoke during the global workshop on satellite-based tolling organised by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

Gadkari explained why providing good quality roads before tolling is crucial. 

”If you don’t provide good quality service, you should not charge toll…We are in a hurry to start tolling to collect user fees and protect our interest,” the road transport and highways minister said. ”You should collect the user fee where you provide the best quality road.

If you collect tolls on roads with potholes, and mud, then there will be a backlash from people,” he added.

Satellite-Based Tolling:

Satellite-based tolling is set to be implemented over 5,000 km this financial year by NHAI. 

The idea is to eliminate physical toll booths and road congestion through a satellite-based toll collection system. Also, insurance companies can customize motor vehicle insurance based on GPS location.

The NHAI plans to implement a GNSS-based Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system within the existing FASTag ecosystem, initially using a hybrid model with RFID-based ETC and GNSS-based ETC operating simultaneously.

NHAI wants to implement this on commercial vehicles before extending it to private vehicles, considering scalability and privacy concerns. 

The authority suggests analysing driver behaviour and using back-end data analysis for fraud detection. It also suggests that GNSS could allow for a shift from prepaid to postpaid payment modes and enable faster credits based on travel plans.