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Govt plans single agency for toll collection, audit
October, 16th 2006

To Check revenue leakage from toll collection, the government is planning to make the same agency responsible for toll collection and maintenance. The agency will be awarded work through competitive bidding on the basis of operate-maintain-transfer (OMT).

At present, operation and maintenance of independent toll audit systems and actual collection are done by two different agencies. In 90% of the cases, toll collection was being sponsored by the Directorate General of Resettlement (DGR). DGR is an inter-service organisation functioning directly under the ministry of defence. For the remaining 10%, the agency was selected through an auction system.

The toll collection agency will deposit the collections on behalf of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). In return, NHAI will pay them a monthly sum for their services. The operations and maintenance agency, in the present system, is selected through a standard bidding system.

Under the new system, a single agency will be responsible for both works, and will be selected through competitive bidding on the basis of the highest upfront payment the agency is willing to make to NHAI. The latter has selected OMT as the financing model, an official in NHAI said.

This will check leakage in toll collection since the agency will have to recover its costs, he added. The government is in the process of finalising the bidding document and it should be finalised within the next six months, he said.

There are nearly 60 toll plazas across the country at the moment and the figure is likely to go up with the government giving highest priority to build-operate-transfer (BOT) toll projects. NHAI had been receiving some complaints from users of instances of tolling plazas overcharging users.

The new system is expected to address these issues and streamline the toll collection process. NHAI also makes routine checks at the tolling plazas through its project directors and by sending decoy customers.It also makes random checks and monitors each collection from time to time.

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