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Toll and Tax: Anomalies Aplenty

There is no clarity as regards toll collection in the state of Maharashtra. According to the Deputy Chief Minister, there is a toll exemption for private cars and it should be levied on commercial vehicles only. However, the rate of toll keeps going up on a regular basis for one and all.

As automotive journalists we drive a different car every other day and if we carry a FASTag from our personal car and are willing to pay the toll, the attendant refuses to accept it and insists that we pay double the toll amount because the registration number on the FASTag and the car’s do not match. I fail to understand this; so long as I am willing to pay the toll, how does it matter if the FASTag is not for that car? Why is it that the government wants to keep a tab on us as to where we are going?

In India we pay one of the highest road taxes in the world and if we get to drive on a half decent road, we are made to pay toll. In most parts of the world, road tax is levied on the basis of the weight of the vehicle: heavy vehicles pay a higher road tax as they put a greater stress on the road and cause more damage. In India, however, the tax is levied based on the price of the vehicle, thus sometimes a high-end motorcycle ends up paying a higher road tax than even a 10-tonne truck. How does this make any sense? To top it all, if you shift from one state to another, you have to re-register the car and pay the road tax applicable to that state. Why do we not have a uniform registration fee and have road tax charged on fuel instead? This way people who drive more will automatically pay more by way of road tax and there will be no need to re-register one’s car when one moves from one state to another.


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