BANGALORE: The recent stay order by the Devanahalli JMM Court on toll collection at the Sadarahalli Gate, near BIAL, seems to have put a spanner in National Highways Authority of India’s (NHAI) efforts to introduce new technologies like Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) on the Bellary Highway.
NHAI, however, has said that it remains committed to ETC and also stated that it will appeal against the stay order in the High Court. Stating that talks for introducing ETC are still on, Chief General Manager of NHAI A K Mathur said, “It will be beneficial for the concessionaire (Contractor) to adapt the system as well, we are pushing for it, once he takes the decision, it will take about a month for ETC’s implementation.”
ETC works on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology consists of an affordable chip an identification number that can be installed in a vehicle. The chip can be loaded with cash-based on tie-ups with various banks, and automatic readers at toll gates would ensure the toll gets collected without wasting a lot of time. Pilot projects by NHAI on National Highway 1 are already underway.
The city currently has ETC being implemented on the Bangalore Elevated Tollway, but according to Mathur, he has not seen good response as the concessionaire had to wait for up to a year before people started showing interest in the scheme. “Only 200 passes were purchased there. The technology needs to be publicised more,” he added.
Taxi operators though are indifferent about the technology being implemented at Sadarahalli gate since they feel that it is not beneficial to them in anyway.
“It will be useful only for the prepaid taxi cab operators like KSTDC and other services, since we charge our guests for the toll we cannot use the ETC as we will not get a receipt,” said Secretary of the Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners’ Association Radhakrishna Holla.
He, however, supported the initiative and stated that taxi owners could use the service if it is extended to all toll collection gates in the State and the country.
“The country has some 20 to 25 contractors who operate major tollways, NHAI must coordinate with all of them to ensure a hassle-free travel for RFID chip users in order to promote ETC. This will also ensure transparent toll collection procedures for NHAI,” he said.