New Delhi, Oct 31: Electronic toll collection (ETC) systems will be installed in at least one lane of 350 toll plazas across national highways, advancing the earlier target date by three months, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said. Given the average waiting time of 10 minutes at toll plazas, there is scope to save Rs. 7,000 crore through fuel savings, Gadkari said, while inaugurating electronic tolling system on the Delhi-Mumbai corridor. Citing a Transport Corporation of India-IIM Kolkata study that said Rs. 27,000 crore was lost on account of various delays at checkposts, the Minister said electronic toll collection could save Rs. 34,000 crore. However, even with these estimates, the benefits would accrue only if all vehicles adopt the electronic toll collection mechanism and all toll plazas install the systems. The electronic clearing house for the ETC system is being facilitated by ICICI Bank and Axis Bank.
ETC has already been installed at 55 toll plazas and their integration with the Central Clearing House (CCH) operators has almost been completed on the Delhi-Mumbai route via Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Maharashtra. A pilot project for an inter-operable ETC system of 10 toll plazas between Mumbai (Charoti) and Ahmedabad has already been tested and seamless ETC on this section is in operation. The Centre has issued orders to incorporate ETC lanes as a mandatory clause in the contracts awarded for all the highways projects in future. Action will be taken to include ETC system by means of supplementary agreement in those projects which have not yet been started.
For implementing ETC across the country, a new company -- Indian Highways Management Company Limited -- has been formed, with equity participation from National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), concessionaires and financial institutions. On Friday, Gadkari also launched a project under which a survey will be done to gather data on actual traffic on highways. The Minister also formally launched NHAI\'s toll information system website, which helps users by defining toll plaza locations and respective the user fees. Users can check the toll charges through text messages from mobile phones. However, full benefits of such a service will only accrue after similar services are started by all State Governments for toll plazas.