Gadkari confident of FASTags toll collections reaching 99% in a month

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on December 18, 2019 Published on December 18, 2019

VK Singh wants NHAI to make use of FASTags data for benefit of transportation

With Fastag sales, transactions and toll collections of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) jumped following the government push for digital toll collection, Road Minister Nitin Gadkari hoped the difficulties of road users’ during transition will soon be sorted out.

Taking note of difficulties faced by National Highways users due to implementation of Fastag, Gadkari said, “There could be and there (still) are some difficulties in the initial days of implementing (mandatory) Fastags. They should be rectified over the next few days. Surprisingly, our toll income has increased -- (At places) where we got Rs 7 crore, we are now getting Rs 85 crore.”

The toll income of NHAI has seen a sharp jump in some plazas, said Minister Gadkari. This jump indicates revenue leakages through cash-based toll collection are being plugged, say NHAI and Road Ministry officials.

“I hope the electronic toll collection transactions, which are about 46 per cent now, will reach 99 per cent within a month,” said Gadkari, as he asked the Ministry to beam advertisements to further push a behavioural change with national highway users to adopt Fastags.

FASTags for NHAI’s fuel outlets

With NHAI’s plans to install fuel outlets – for selling petrol, gas along the expressways – these tags can be used for paying for fuel as well, said Gadkari, adding that this will set an example for good governance.

The Minister added that the KYC requirement for Fastag will soon be relaxed as the RBI Governor has agreed in-principle to relax this proposal.

NHAI has given a massive push to adoption of Fastags. The steps include: providing Fastags for free, as well as incentivising Fastag users by making cash-paying users pay double the toll amount for getting into lanes exclusively meant for Fastag users.

Data Usage

“(Adoption) of Fastags were pushed as the aim was to make journey through National Highways’ toll plazas smoother. There is jump in toll collection,” said General (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh, Minister of State (Road Transport and Highways).

Referring to the queues or delays seen in NHAI toll plazas, Singh said those queues are a result of peoples’ expectation that the due date would be shifted. That said, General Singh asked NHAI Chairman to use the data collected through Fastags for the benefit of transportation.

Fastags, which provide a unique identity to each vehicle, are also like the vehicle Adhaar, as they track the vehicles.

“We have seen a sudden increase over the last one month. Tremendous increase in toll collection as the leakages are being stopped with use of technology,” said S Sandhu, Chairman, NHAI, speaking at an event on Tuesday.

NHAI started a campaign to push for adoption of Fastags almost four months ago. As the deadline – aimed to make journeys smoother only for electronic toll payers with Fastags – inched closer, NHAI saw a massive jump in demand for Fastags, and transactions.

Almost 20 lakh electronic transactions are happening every day, resulting in toll collection of about ₹40 crore.

Exempted FASTags

In another move that will push adoption of Fastags, Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMCL) has started the process for issuing “exempted Fastag” for those who need not pay toll charges.

In fact, vehicles that have been exempted from payment of user fees but, which have not been affixed with “functional exempted FASTag”, need not pay any toll charges till they show their “valid ID card”, as per government rules.

Published on December 18, 2019
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