Updated: July 5, 2021 7:14:56 am
As the country recovers from the second wave of Covid, traffic seems to be hurrying back to the highways, according to official data on usage of FASTags.
By June-end, toll collected through this electronic mode touched Rs 97 crore in a day, and by July 1, Rs 103 crore. This is just short of the all-time daily high of Rs 107 crore in March, just before the second wave hit, the official data show.
With the Government opting for a calibrated unlock of business activities, these tags have become the preferred mode of toll collection in 780 toll plazas, including all 660 under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). Over 3.45 crore FASTags have been issued so far.
On July 1, 63 lakh FASTag transactions were recorded. And across June, the Government earned Rs 2,576 crore through FASTag tolls, a jump of 21 per cent from May.
Officials said that barring certain states, such as Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Odisha and Rajasthan, the uptick in FASTag transactions is steady.
In March, just before the second wave hit, FASTag usage hit a peak of 19.3 crore transactions a month. But from April, when cases started spiking, that figure dipped to 16.4 crore transactions worth around Rs 2,776 crore.
In May, when active cases reached a peak of 90 lakh, tag data showed 11.6 crore transactions worth about Rs 2,100 crore. Over most of May, major Covid-hit cities and towns were in various modes of lockdown.
Officials said data from June indicate that effects of the second wave, as signified by highway traffic, may be on the wane.
This time last year, in the middle of the first wave, the total number of FASTag transactions stood at just about 8 crore, translating into Rs 1,511 crore. In September last year, which saw the peak of the first wave with over 26 lakh cases, highways clocked 11 crore FASTag transactions worth Rs 1,940 crore.
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