NEW DELHI: Highway tolls earned the government a huge Rs 25,000 crore in last three years, a reason perhaps why Union Road Transport minister Nitin Gadkari recently asserted that people will have to pay if they want good roads. There are a total of 549 toll plazas across the country and Rajasthan tops with 90. However, it is Uttar Pradesh that has contributed maximum revenue from these toll plazas. Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat are other top contributors.
Data also disclosed that revenue collections from toll plazas have steadily increased over past three years. While the collections in 2016-17 stood at nearly Rs 6,938 crore, they rose to Rs 8,630 crore in 2017-18 and further to Rs 9,187 crore in 2018-19.
In 2018-19, a maximum revenue of Rs 1,525 crore was collected from UP which has 55 toll plazas. Gujarat, with 36 toll plazas, stood at number two position earning Rs 1,059 crore revenue and Tamil Nadu was at the third spot earning Rs 1,036 crore from 52 toll plazas.
While the budgetary allocation is not sufficient for constructing and subsequently maintaining the all-weather roads, the user fee being collected is also utilised for construction and maintenance of national highways.
To facilitate smooth movement of traffic, the government has rolled out a cashless payment mechanism known as FASTag by the implementation of radio frequency identification (RFID) based electronic toll collection system.