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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:11   #1
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Default Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

Hi All,

Have you ever wondered " Can Toll Plaza's be a point for scam or corruption ?". This was precisely the question put forward by my friend during my recent Mumbai - Chennai drive. I disagreed & could not accept his thoughts.To my surprise the very same night I realized that there could be bigger scam / corruption in Highway Tolls.

At approx 3 am on 22/05/11, I was crossing Pallikonda Toll ( Just Before Vellore on Bang - Che GQ) . Toll amount Rs 45 for Cars. I paid Rs 100 and waited for change. The person gave me Rs 70 back and asked me to move on. For a minute I was confused, then I realized that he has not given me the receipt. I asked him for receipt. He reluctantly took the money back and told the other guy "This Sir wants Receipt". He then took my vehicle number and gave the receipt for Rs 45 and change of Rs 55.

Slowly I started thinking on the magnitude of this scam or corruption . Assume the guy wanted to make a quick Rs 30 out of me. This money went straight to his pocket. If he employed the same for 100 cars he could be making Rs 3000 on a single day. What about the money that could be got from Buses and Trucks the money could be even more.

We as responsible citizens could make them force issue receipts. What about the tourist drivers / Buses / Trucks guys who are happy to pay less toll and proceed. What is impact of this on the Build- Operate- Transfer model based Infrastructure development? Are big private players involved or is it just the small time working guys at the tolls.

I am not sure if mine is a lone incident or has any of you experienced similar incidents. But surely it has started ringing some Alarm Bells in my mind.

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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:20   #2
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marlon View Post
Hi All, Have you ever wondered " Can Toll Plaza's be a point for scam or corruption ?". This was precisely the question put forward by my friend during my recent Mumbai - Chennai drive. I disagreed & could not accept his thoughts.To my surprise the very same night I realized that there could be bigger scam / corruption in Highway Tolls.
Good logic there, but atleast on the highways controlled and monitored by NHAI's automated system, this is tough. The total money collected at the end of the day is tallied against the times the gate (the one which moves up / down) is opened / closed. This thing is easier on non automated state highways. If they open / close the automated gate for some other reason, they need to specify the reason in the software tool used to manage that.

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Last edited by mobike008 : 23rd May 2011 at 17:15.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:24   #3
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

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Good logic there, but atleast on the highways controlled and monitored by NHAI's automated system, this is tough. The total money collected at the end of the day is tallied against the times the gate (the one which moves up / down) is opened / closed. This thing is easier on non automated state highways. If they open / close the automated gate for some other reason, they need to specify the reason in the software tool used to manage that.
My experience was on the Golden Quadrilateral. Also what is the possibility that the Toll Guy lets a Truck pass by and issues a receipt for Rs 50 instead of the actual Rs 500 and the driver and toll guys share the booty.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:28   #4
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

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Originally Posted by Marlon View Post
Hi All, Have you ever wondered " Can Toll Plaza's be a point for scam or corruption ?". This was precisely the question put forward by my friend during my recent Mumbai - Chennai drive. I disagreed & could not accept his thoughts.To my surprise the very same night I realized that there could be bigger scam / corruption in Highway Tolls.
Must happen during the wee hours! I've never come across this even once, ofcourse I don't do wee hours these days. Good that you brought this up!

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Last edited by mobike008 : 23rd May 2011 at 16:45.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:36   #5
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

When I was in college, we used to have a toll gate for a newly constructed bridge on the way to the nearest town. We used to travel in auto rickshaws and used to notice that the guys would never give any receipt to most of the people and would just pocket half the money instead of the actual toll. I think this is a pretty common scam on our highways, although like Shantanu has said, it might be more difficult with the automated ones.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:36   #6
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

@ Marlon: Yours was not a lone incident. The exact same thing happened with me on a toll plaza in Tamil nadu on 13th of May at NH 7 near Krishnagiri Toll Gate. The roll amount was 25 Rs for Car and I gave him 50 Rs. he returned me 30 Rs and then asked for 5 Rs change as I was asking for Receipt. When I said I dont have change, only then he started entering the details of my car on the system and then printed the receipt and gave me back 5 Rs with the receipt. Then I checked my car details on the receipt and made sure that it was all fine. After leaving the toll booth I thought this guy was trying to make 20 Rs from me by offering me a 5 rs rebate!

On another toll booth on the same day I was handed over a receipt with a wrong regn number. I noticed that only after reaching home. But the timing and date etc were correct. I was thinking even with this way the people at toll booth can make some money by making fake receipts / reusing the receipts collected from other vehicles.

I have seen vehicles (taxis mainly) giving some bunch of coins, not collecting the receipts and speeding away at toll booths.

Not a good sight to see yourslelf :-(

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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:38   #7
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

This is old trick practiced by dis-honest bus conductors. For a Rs 10 bus ticket, pay 5 and conductor doesn't give the ticket. Same with dis-honest traffic police - for 500 rupee offence, pay 100 and no receipt is issues.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:46   #8
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

Never really faced this problem in the South. In fact I've always found the NH tollbooth guys (esp. on the Blr-Chennai sector) courteous, honest and efficient. Of course, its been a year since I drove on that sector. I'm hoping this is an isolated incident.
@Marlon, why don't you try escalating this incident.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 15:57   #9
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

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Originally Posted by Marlon View Post
The person gave me Rs 70 back and asked me to move on.
Another case of unity in diversity in India! I too experienced this in UP when I was driving on NH 2 from Agra to New Delhi in the last November. I was given an option of foregoing the receipt for the sake of Rs 20+. But there, the toll plaza personnel asked me frankly! I had insisted on the receipt and got the correct change.

Last edited by J.Ravi : 23rd May 2011 at 15:59.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 16:00   #10
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

I don't understand why a smart card based system isn't being introduced. A contactless system might prove expensive but it would surely be easier to get money out of a prepaid card, get a receipt and move on. No hassels about change etc.

The toll company also gets to earn interest from the amount loaded onto the cards.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 16:20   #11
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

I have seen the same on the NH2 in Haryana. Also, I hear this is not infrequent on the NH-25 Lucknow-Kanpur thought I have never faced it myself.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 16:38   #12
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

I think you guys are discussing the lower level stuff which the employees indulge in. The bigger corruption / scams is in allowing the toll to be collected well after the initial contract, citing reasons like the costs have not been recovered. This happens regularly, IMO, and will need the cooperation of the so called authorities also .. who should have been ensuring the system is just.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 17:17   #13
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

Quote:
Originally Posted by evilshantanu View Post
Good logic there, but atleast on the highways controlled and monitored by NHAI's automated system, this is tough. The total money collected at the end of the day is tallied against the times the gate (the one which moves up / down) is opened / closed. This thing is easier on non automated state highways. If they open / close the automated gate for some other reason, they need to specify the reason in the software tool used to manage that.
I can narrate an instance of fooling this system as well. Happened to me during one of those regular Pune-Bangalore night drives and at Taswade toll Plaza where the amount is 52/-.

When I approached the gate and rolled down, an attendant comes forward and asks me "Saheb, 30 rupiyaa de do, paavti nahi dega" (Sir, Give 30 Rs and I wont give you the receipt) to which I insisted on paying the full toll amount with a receipt which I later got.

On how the system can also be fooled was simple to understand when I parked my car for a quick leak and then saw the toll booth chap holding the pipe and bending it forward to make way for the vehicle to pass. I am not sure if this bending was possible as a result of slightly cutting the pipe itself or tampering the pivot.

So, this ensured that the owner of the vehicle paid lesser amount and still the vehicle wasn't counted in the system.

Apart from this a few instances I faced were:
1. Getting a receipt but with a wrong vehicle number. Mostly at the Shirwal toll Plaza. One can easily make out by looking at the paper's whiteness (seems like old) and the quality of print that would've faded. This is for sure landing on our hands from a different vehicle itself who'd've passed the receipt back.

2. Not getting a toll receipt at all despite of paying full amount - Happens to me mostly in MH towards Pune between Kolhapur and Pune. I experienced this recently in Nelemangala Elevated toll way as well.

Last edited by paragsachania : 23rd May 2011 at 17:19.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 17:27   #14
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

Another instance /type of cheating: in-correct vehicle type charged for. LCV instead of LMV. Happened to us (me and fellow BHP-ian Khan) when we were driving on NICE road and the booth attendent gave us a receipt for LCV when we were driving a UV. The rate was higher.
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Old 23rd May 2011, 17:34   #15
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Default Re: Scam/ Corruption in Toll Plaza

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Originally Posted by condor View Post
I think you guys are discussing the lower level stuff which the employees indulge in. The bigger corruption / scams is in allowing the toll to be collected well after the initial contract, citing reasons like the costs have not been recovered. This happens regularly, IMO, and will need the cooperation of the so called authorities also .. who should have been ensuring the system is just.
Exactly!

The big fish (the authority) is earning in crores; no one really knows the legitimacy of a toll booth. Take the eg. of the toll booth coming up just before Bangalore Int'l Airport. The work on the road expansion has only just begun, leave alone being completed; and yet the toll is in plac.

Another eg. is the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway. There is no security as such on the highway, the road condition is in shambles and yet toll is being increased. And mind you, the Delhi-Gurgaon toll is one place which has plenty vehicles on either side dispite having some 40-odd counters.

Talking about scams and corruption in the toll plaza business, guess the question should start from whether it is legal and justified and then the amount and so on.

Luckily, I have not been asked to be party to bribing the toll issuer yet; but yes, 90% of the toll receipts I have got have wrong vehicle reg. no.
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