Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has stated that the FASTtag is yet to be fully adopted by Indian road-users. He says the new GPS imaging system is the move going forward.
Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has stated that all tollbooths will be removed across the country, with payments being collected through GPS imaging on vehicles instead. Gadkari said in the Lok Sabha, “I want to assure the House that within one year all physical toll booths in the country will be removed. It means that toll collection will happen via GPS. The money will be collected based on GPS imaging (on vehicles).”
The Union minister’s statement came in response to a question that was raised by BJP’s Danish Ali, who complained about toll booths in Garhmukteshwar in the Hapur district. Ali said that instead of the Indian highways’ usual intervals of 60 kilometres between toll booths, his constituency has two booths within 40 kilometres. Gadkari said: “I know in some places there are too many toll booths. It's wrong and unfair. We have decided to get rid of them.”
“There used to be a lot of theft in this. Our income from toll tax used to be Rs 24,000 crore per year, but during Covid time, it was Rs 10,000 crore lower. But we have implemented FASTag,” Gadkari further added.
The electronic form of fee payment at toll plazas, FASTag was introduced in 2016. Gadkari said 93% of existing vehicles use FASTag, but the remaining 7% are yet to adopt it even though you have to pay a double toll. “It looks like they don’t want to leave a record. Now, I have called a police inquiry.” With toll being charged via GPS imaging, the idea is to have smooth traffic flow without much of a physical obstruction at the highways. However, the GPS imaging will require the government and governing authorities to set up new laws for vehicle compliance by mandating the installation of GPS devices on every vehicle, which in turn is a costly transition. As a result, the carmakers will have to sell a car with a factory-fitted GPS device.