Mumbai: Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) project is on the cards where all the National Highways of India should be digitised and government has set the deadlines for all NH maintainers.

Every single toll on lane is on the verge of digitisation, although the movement has been started. Over 400 toll plazas are on RFID (radio frequency identification device) range based on ETC. This programme supposed to be completed in August, post demonetisation but progress seems slow due to certain unavoidable circumstances.

Present situation is, only 1 or 2 lane of avg, in toll plazas, are ETC-enabled which creates congestion and late transactions of vehicles on highways. ETC-enabled lane will provide dis-incentivizes facilities for those who are opting to pay electronically.

Actually, this programme was initialised since decade but remaining 3,000 lanes are yet to be ETC-enabled. It was UPA (II) who started this initiative under a committee of UIDAI chairman Nandan Nilekani to look into the matter.

Further, to stop vehicle theft and make movement more smooth, the committee recommended placing Aadhaar-like system in vehicles which will be identified with unique RFID number. But, Indian Highways Management Co. Ltd (IHMCL) handled this concept just like addressing multiple issues with the RFID tags.

According to a committee, the RFID infrastructure will be further integrated with weigh-in-motion (WIM) equipment which monitors the weight of freight vehicles and penalize overloaded vehicles via the NETC programme itself. It will be installed on all the toll plazas, in the each of lanes in nation.

At present, the scenario is that only 12-15% of toll is collected through RFID system. This programme launched post demonetisation which made some unusual circumstances. Although, government is tying-up with more banks to make pre-paid tags available at more places and of course, ensuring that all toll lanes are ETC-enabled.

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