NEW DELHI: The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will provide FASTags free of cost, including the security deposit for each account, to encourage vehicle owners to switch to electronic tolling as the December deadline approaches.
The road transport and highways ministry had earlier this year announced December 1 as the deadline to switch all toll lanes across national highways in the country to electronic toll collection(ETC).
“NHAI has set up point of sale (PoS) on several toll plazas across the country, and they are giving out FASTags free of cost,” minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari said.
Around 27,000 PoS have been established by banks and NHAI in the country for sale of FASTags.
FASTags are being given free of cost only where NHAI has established POS.
“NHAI will also bear the Rs 150 security deposit of your FASTag,” Gadkari said. “We only want to encourage people to adopt electronic tolling, so they don’t have to stop at toll plazas.”
FASTags will be sold free of cost till December 1.
The minister said the government is committed to make travel seamless through toll plazas, and electronic toll collection is a crucial move in that direction.
More than 90% of 537 toll plazas across the country have been fully equipped with ETC infrastructure, NHAI chairman Sukhbir Sandhu said.
While one hybrid lane will be provided to allow cash transactions for heavy-duty vehicles, a vehicle owner will have two pay twice the toll fee if their vehicle enters the ETC lane without a FASTag, according to the National Highways Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules of 2008.
The government plans to implement these rules strictly, ET reported on November 20.
Last week, the ministry had deployed officers to monitor the roll out and implementation of 100% electronic toll collection facilities at all toll plazas.
The ministry appointed Central Prabhari Officers in various states to monitor preparedness for the transition and to coordinate with the NHAI, the implementing agency, to fill gaps in infrastructure.