The deadline to fully implement toll collection through FASTags on vehicles has been extended once again. The road transport ministry has extended the deadline for the collection of toll charges through electronic mode at toll plazas till February 15.
In a letter to NHAI, the ministry has said the authority can obtain the needed regulatory requirement to ensure 100% cashless fee collection from the changed date.
Earlier, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had made FASTag mandatory for all vehicles from January 1.
FASTag is a prepaid tag that enables automatic deduction of toll charges and lets the vehicle pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction. It allows for direct payment of fee from the prepaid or savings account linked to it and enables vehicles to drive through without stopping for transactions.
In order to discourage cash transactions at toll plazas, all lanes barring one on each side have been made dedicated FASTag lanes. Vehicles without FASTag are being fined double the normal toll fee if they enter these lanes. Currently, the share of transactions by FASTag is hovering around 75-80%.
The government has also made FASTag mandatory while getting a new third party insurance, applicable with effect from April 1, 2021.
The National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme, the flagship initiative of the MoRTH, has been implemented on a pan-India basis in order to remove bottlenecks and ensure seamless movement of traffic and collection of user fee as per the notified rates, using passive radio frequency identification (RFID) technology.
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) recently updated the FASTag app to add a new feature to provide balance status to users. The My FASTag App will show FASTag wallet balance status in form of color codes that include green for active tag with sufficient balance, orange/amber for tags with low balance and red for blacklisted tags.
In case of 'orange' status, the vehicle users can instantly recharge using the mobile app or avail instant recharge facility at toll plaza Point of Sale (POS).
Over 40,000 POSes at toll plazas have been set throughout the country in partnership with 26 banks.