CHENNAI: From December 1, owners of vehicles that are not fitted with FASTag (electronic toll collection) will be charged double the toll fee if they use ‘FASTag lanes’ at toll plazas along national highways.
The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has made electronic toll collection (ETC) mandatory for all vehicles from December 1. However, one lane (extreme left) at every toll plaza will continue to accept cash.
ETC was designed to ensure non-stop movement of vehicles at the toll plaza, cashless payment, and reduction of traffic congestion.
National Highways Authority of India regional officer Pawan Kumar said the rule would be strictly implemented. Even dignitaries such as judges, CMs and cabinet ministers who are exempt from paying toll have to get ‘zero balance’ FASTag.
“We introduced FASTag in certain toll plazas to identify the shortcomings and ways to address them well before the end of this month,” he said. They witnessed vehicles piling up in cash-collection lanes and disturbing free flow of traffic.
The NHAI has equipped 462 out of 482 lanes in 48 toll plazas – 22 in Madurai region and 26 in Chennai region – with the radio frequency identification-based FASTag. The remaining 20 lanes will be equipped with FASTag within a couple of days.
On November 17, a total of 6.11 lakh vehicles – 1.66 lakh in Madurai and 4.45 lakh in Chennai Region – passed through the toll plazas on the NHs. Of them, only 1.51 lakh vehicles or 35% were fitted with FASTag.
“We have installed 90 point of sale (PoS) units at the toll plazas to help vehicle owners to switch to FASTag,” he said.
Besides, vehicle owners can get FASTag online or approach nationalised/ private banks to get the tag. They need to submit RC of the vehicle, driving license of the vehicle owner and get it done by paying Rs 500 (Rs 250 is refundable, while Rs 100 is for the tag and Rs 150 for service charge).
The vehicle owner will get an SMS about the amount deducted every time his vehicle passes through the ETC-equipped lanes.
Sources said the state government is also contemplating introducing FASTag lanes in state-controlled national highways.