DND toll tax has been scrapped. Here's what India's toll economy looks like
The 9.2 km-long 8-lane DND freeway that connects South Delhi to East Delhi and Noida was declared toll-free on 26 October by an order passed by the Allahabad High Court. Noida Toll Bridge Company Limited (NTBCL), the company which collects Rs 28 per trip, moved Supreme Court against the order the very next day.
However, on 28 October, the Supreme Court quashed the appeal.
In 2012, it had been the Federation of Noida Residents Welfare Associations which has had moved court. They alleged that NTBCL had collected Rs 2,000 crore in tolls, much more than Rs 408 crore - which is what it cost to build the freeway.
An undeniable part of travelling by road means paying tolls at various checkpoints. Most highways are constructed in a public private partnership and tolls are a form of taxation to recover the cost and for maintenance.
However, allegations of corruption are often heaped on the 'toll politics' in India. Here are all the numbers and facts you need to know on India's toll tax:
- Toll revenue received by the government as of November 2015, according to a parliamentary reply.
- This amount has been collected from a total of 348 booths across the country.
- However, toll could not be collected from three toll plazas in the country, which are in Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.
- The amount collected via tolls by the government during financial year 2014-15.
- In the previous financial year of 2013-14, Rs 5,245 crore was collected.
- It is clear from the above data that toll revenue for the government has been increasing.
- The total number of toll booths in the country as of now, according to National Highways Toll Information System.
- The highest number of tolls are in Tamil Nadu (42), followed by Rajasthan (40) and Uttar Pradesh (40).
- Hilly states such as Himachal Pradesh and most of the northeast states (except Meghalaya and Assam) have no toll booths, while Uttarakhand has 1 (the lowest), followed by Jammu and Kashmir (3) and Jharkhand (3).
- Estimated cost of delay at toll plazas in India in a year, according to a 2013 study by Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta and Transport Corporation of India.
- The primary reason for this cost is the 'slow speed of vehicles due to toll plazas'.
- Under-reporting of vehicles, overcharging and corrupt practices such as collecting tolls even after recovering costs, are other big problems of the India's toll economy.
- Though online payment is facilitated in many booths to speed up this process, corruption issues still remain unresolved though auditors have raised the concern.
- The amount invested by the National Highway Authority of India on the area of 373 toll collection centres, according to a news report based on All India Motor Transport Congress.
- However, only Rs 72,300 crore has been collected till September, 2015.
- Surprisingly, in 63 of these 373 toll booths, Rs 22,636 crore was collected against investment of Rs 14,192 crore and was still going on.
Till the time government succeeds in getting its desired revenue, private operators will go on making windfall gains.