Centre ropes in Akshay Kumar for FASTag awareness
Following tepid response to Centre's rule mandating usage of FASTags at national highway toll plazas, Centre has roped in Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar for raising awareness for its usage.
The ministry of road transport and highways will release TV commercials starring the actor to raise on awareness of the FASTag programme, the ministry announced on Tuesday.
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Hindustan Times on Tuesday reported nearly half of the commuters crossing national highway toll plazas on December 15, the day mandating usage of FASTags for payment at tolls across national highway booths, paid through their FASTags even as data suggested an increase in the average waiting time of vehicles.
The Centre’s earlier deadline mandating FASTags by December 1 had been postponed to December 15 to provide more time to commuters to make their vehicles FASTag-enabled.
FASTag, a radio frequency identification (RFID) sticker typically fixed to a vehicle’s windscreen, lets toll booths wirelessly and automatically deduct the fee such that a vehicle would not be required to stop.
On Saturday, the Union government relaxed its rules for the rollout of the mandatory FASTag mechanism of paying at national highways, allowing more collection centres to accept cash payments instead of the previous directive that limited it to 1 – amid fears of traffic chaos once the new rule came into force from December 15. Centre had also said a shortage of tags was being caused due to a supply deficit of the tags.
As per the Centre’s order, those entering FASTag lanes without the tags would be penalized with double toll payment.
In a letter sent on December 12, the NHAI had cited a lack of availability of FASTag for new users to seek a 45-day extension to the December 15 deadline, which itself had been pushed from December 1 after authorities noticed a huge rush for new tags – suggesting many had still not bought one.