The new guidelines issued by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on May 28th, 2021 ensure a service time of not more than 10 seconds per vehicle even during peak hours at the toll plazas.
Under the new guidelines, in the event the queue of vehicles extends beyond 100 meters, the vehicles will be allowed to pass without paying toll tax. For this purpose, the ministry has also asked toll plazas to draw a yellow line at a distance of 100 meters from the toll booth.
As informed by the All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC), this new 10-second yellow rule promulgated by the government of India has been a long-pending demand initiated by this apex body of transporters in the context of the current Toll collection regime.
“We welcome the initiative taken by the government for announcing the 10-second yellow line rules, though late in the day, but still it is a semblance of change in the thought process that we wanted to bring in the government and the bureaucratic circles”.~Bal Malkit Singh, Chairman-Core Committee, All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC)
The transporters have welcomed this new move with open arms and believe that it will fulfill the government’s aims to make the Highways stand at par with international standards and ensure that the journey of commuters is seamless and more efficient.
“The rule looks like a brilliant move in the direction to speed up the clearance at toll plazas and is certainly an indication of government’s strong resolve to make the Indian logistics at par with developed countries, as such faster movement at toll plazas will save precious time and will aid in increased efficiencies.”~Aditya Shah, Executive Director, V-Express.
Benefits of the 10-sec toll Plaza Rule:
The 10-second toll plaza rule is set to not only ensure seamless highway journeys but will also help reduce the overall Logistics cost and bring down the GDP.
“Since 2010, we have been asking the government for seamless movement of transport vehicles as it has been resulting in a lot of wastage of resources, fuel, time, delays and increasing of the turnaround times as well as business loss”, informed Mr Malkit.
These new guidelines have indeed come as an answer to all the worries of the transporters and are surely set to bring ample benefits.
Due to various stoppages and the level of corruption because of human presence, losses estimated on account of wastage of fuel and delays by a study by IIM Kolkata in 2014-15 has been about USD 21.3 billion which stands at more than 1.5 Lakh crores of Rupees — one of the major reasons behind the high logistics costs of the country, pegged at 14 percent of GDP.
After the implementation of the rule, transporters will be able to save fuel wastage, time and avoid any delays.
For the transporters, time is money and thus, “a 10-sec clearing will be greatly beneficial,” shared Mr. Shah.
He added that vehicles will be able to reach the destination in lesser time, and hence the speed of delivery will be fast and even the turn-around time will be reduced, which will help bring down the logistics cost from 13% to 10% or below.
While the new guidelines are bringing smiles to the faces of the transporters, the successful implementation of the same is however, raising brows. Transporters believe that although the government with this move has displayed good intentions, the process of its implementation has not been adequately thought through.
Speaking on the implementation of the new guidelines, Mr. Malkit believes a lot of challenges will await the government.
He said, “Tolls by large are promoted by big and local politicians, and local mafia at the back end. This rule will be tough to implement because the toll concessionaire would hardly allow vehicles to roll out freely through their Tolls.”
Citing an example of the inactions on the part of the toll collectors at the highways, he shares, “The FASTag and Electronic Toll Collection System (ETC) system has been there since a long time but still, there are long queues at the toll plazas as sometimes, the tag readers do not work properly and sometimes, they are manipulated by the Toll operators, who are engaged for Toll collection on Theka system, to make the vehicle owners pay double the amount in cash”.
Furthermore, the new guidelines can only be followed on the cash lane but not on the FASTag lane, as the moment the car approaches the toll window, the system will auto deduct the toll amount.
The government will have to ensure all these concerns are addressed for the rightful implementation of the guideline.
Other Support Expected
With the implementation of FASTag, the GOI has reduced the waiting time at toll plazas drastically, and now with the announcement of the new 10-second toll Plaza rule, it is further aiming to bring relief to the transporters.
While the transporters are appreciative of all the efforts put in by the government to strengthen the logistics and transportation industry, they expect more support for their quick development.
Certainly, the highway construction in the past couple of years has been encouraging, and other macro decisions as GST, e-Way bills are in the direction to make the logistics at par with developed countries and remove the hurdles. There are some more clarifications and amendments needed in GST and e-Way bill, that will further help the transport and logistics industry, said Mr. Shah.
On a similar note, Mr. Malkit shares with us that AIMTC expects the government to take into consideration their proposal of a free flow human interference-free GPS based e-tolling system as part of our alternative tolling suggestions (proposed post-2018 nationwide Chakkajam).
Mr Malkit talks about the proposal by the Centre to implement a GPS-based Tolling system by this year’s end whereby tolling will be done on Pay-as-you-Use concept.
Under this concept, vehicles will pay the toll according to the distance travelled. This technology-based tolling is widely being used in developed countries across the world.
“The archaic toll collection methodology should be made redundant as it leads to a more inefficient ecosystem and revenue leakages. Instead, an efficient GPS-based efficient tolling system should be implemented across all highways to bring transparency and accountability to the Tolling system”, Mr Malkit surmises.