Sahil VermaJAMMU: Toll payments on National Highways in India will go digital from December 1 with the roll out of FASTags (electronic toll collection). Under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme, toll payments will now only be taken via FASTags. “Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has set December 1, 2019 as the deadline to make all the lanes and highways FASTag-enabled. From December 1, the commuters who do not have a FASTag on their vehicles will be charged double the fee in cash for passing through a FASTag-only lane. ” Ajay Kumar Rajak, Project Director, NHAI told STATE TIMES. “NHAI has equipped all lanes of Ban, Manda, Nashri and Thandikhui Toll Plazas with the radio frequency identification based FASTag aiming to ensure smooth functioning of vehicles, encourage cashless payments, and also avoid traffic congestion. Even dignitaries such as Judges, CMs and Cabinet Ministers who have been exempted from paying toll have to get zero balance Fastags,” Rajak said. “However one lane will be kept as a hybrid lane which will accept FASTags as well as other payments on the condition that the authorities will then charge double of actual toll amount,” Rajak said, adding that the hybrid lane will run only for a short period. Rajak also mentioned that if a commuter is paying Rs 65 for one side and if the same vehicle crosses the same toll plaza within 24 hours he/she has to pay only the amount as per the Toll Plaza’s to and fro rates. The Regional Officer J&K, NHAI, Hemraj informed that a total of eight POS units have been established to help vehicle owners to switch to FASTag. Currently, due to internet restrictions issue, POS units have only been established at Toll Plazas and in NHAI Office. More POS units will be established at prominent places for the road commuters after the lifting of internet restrictions in J&K, he said. “Besides, vehicle owners can get FASTag online or approach nationalized/ 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 refundable while Rs 100 is for the tag and Rs 150 for service charge). However, to ease the facility NHAI has also established their own FASTag which can be purchased by paying Rs 100 against cost of tag. The vehicle owner will get an SMS about the amount deducted every time his vehicle passed through ETC equipped lanes,” Regional Officer J&K, NHAI said. FASTag is a pre-paid tag facility for vehicles that make use of technology to eliminate bottlenecks on toll plazas across India. The re-loadable tag using Radio-Frequency Identification or RFID technology enables automatic deduction of toll charges and let the vehicle owners pass through the toll plaza without stopping for cash transaction. Once the tag account is active, FASTag is affixed on the vehicle’s windscreen. The information on the tag is passively read by the antennae installed at the toll plaza and subsequently the toll is debited for that journey from one’s bank account.
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