Written by Barkha Pawar
FOLLOWING directives from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway, toll plazas on highways began implementing the FASTag initiatives. At Khed Shivapur toll plaza on Pune-Satara highway, various banks had set up stalls to sell and install FASTags.
“Only 28 per cent of people were using FASTag today as it was the first day of its implementation. At the stalls at the toll plaza, a crowd milled around in order to get FASTag. Out of 20 toll lanes, 6 were reserved for cash and 14 were reserved for FASTag,” said Banwarilal Sharma, Senior Manager, Khed Shivapur toll plaza.
“Earlier, about 4,000 residents living in a 20-km radius of the toll plaza were provided with a monthly pass for payment of toll fees. But the passes have expired now and they are requesting to convert their old passes to monthly FASTag passes,” added Sharma.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highway has provided a 30-day extension for citizens to install FASTag in order to ensure smooth flow of traffic, said Sharma. The government had relaxed its December 15 deadline, saying at least 75 per cent of lanes at toll plazas must use the FASTag system while the remaining 25 per cent would function as hybrid toll booths till January 15. This, the ministry said, was to give people more time to buy FASTag.
“Considering the request of NHAI and further the citizens are not put to inconvenience… it is decided that depending on the traffic pile-up at high traffic volume fee plazas, not more than 25 per cent ‘FASTag lane of fee plaza’ may be temporarily converted to hybrid lanes,” the Ministry said.
The deadline for the implementation of FASTag had earlier been extended to December 15 from December 1. The initiative under the National Electronic Toll Collection programme (NETC) is being taken to save fuel and time, and to ensure seamless movement of traffic.
As per the government, all toll plazas have been equipped with an electronic toll collection system.