Electronic toll collection launched in Maharashtra

Dahanu (Maharashtra), April 12 (IANS) India’s first inter-operable, electronic toll collection system based on radio frequency identification (RFID) technology was launched here Friday.

The launch function was held at village Tawa, near Dahanu in Thane district. The system was inaugurated by union Minister for Road Transport and Highways C.P. Joshi.

The facility has been made available on certain toll plazas on the Mumbai-Ahmedabad National Highway No.8 and will soon be extended to Vadodara-Ahmedabad and Mumbai-Pune sections of the highway as well.

The RFID tags can be bought from identified kiosks located near toll plazas. They can also be bought online through the website of ICICI Bank. The tags can be recharged both at the kiosks, as well as through the ICICI Bank website.

Joshi announced that victims of road accidents on Mumbai-Vadodara stretch would be provided with cashless medical treatment as immediate relief.

Underlining the increasing presence of his ministry on the social media, Joshi said that complaints about road conditions may be posted on the Facebook page of NHAI or ministry of road transport, which will be attended to in a fixed time-frame.

India has one of the largest road networks in the world. Approximately, 13,000 km length of roads are under tolling through 220 toll plazas. The toll collection during 2012-13 was in excess of Rs.9,000 crore.

Elaborating on how the RFID tag works, an official said it “will be affixed in the upper central portion of the vehicle’s windscreen. It will work as a prepaid toll account and there will be automatic toll deduction when the vehicle crosses a toll plaza”.

The unique number of the tag fitted on the windscreen of the vehicle would be read by the ‘readers’ fitted in the dedicated lanes of these plazas, and sent to the central clearing house, set up by the ICICI Bank in collaboration with American firm Toll Plus, the official added.

The user will get an instant SMS alert as well as email update. The clearing house pools the money collected electronically and later distributes among toll plaza managements as per usage by vehicles.

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