Ministry of Road Transport & Highways makes it clear that there would be no more extension of the deadline
Finally, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) has issued orders making FASTag compulsory at all toll plazas from the midnight of February 15, 2021 across the country.
In a communication on Sunday, the MoRTH said: “Now, to further promote fee payment through digital mode, reduce waiting time and fuel consumption, and provide for a seamless passage through the fee plazas, it has been decided that all the lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as ‘FASTag lane of the fee plaza’ w.e.f midnight of 15th /16th February 2021.”
Therefore, as per NH Fee Rules 2008, any vehicle not fitted with FASTag or vehicle without valid, functional ‘FASTag’ entering into the ‘FASTag lane’ of the fee plaza shall pay a fee equivalent to two times of the fee applicable to that category, the order said.
With the Ministry giving clarity that there would be no more extension of deadline, now it is mandatory that all the lanes on the toll plazas including those in Telangana would be FASTag enabled only. The regional office of NHAI in Hyderabad has jurisdiction of 21 toll plazas. Authorities have made arrangements to set up at least 8-10 Point of Sales on either sides of the toll plazas.
According to the NHAI authorities in Telangana, 70 percent of the vehicle users affixed the tags on their vehicles. These FASTag stickers are available from either the banks or the point of sales opened at the Toll Plazas. Although the government wanted to make it mandatory from December 1, it was later put off till January 1 and finally February 15. The officials of Telangana are hopeful that the balance of 30 per cent vehicles without FASTags would comply with the latest orders. The standard operating procedure issued last month had clearly stated that the ETC infrastructure at the plazas should be fully operational and top class and any normal FASTag vehicle will be able to cross the Toll Plaza within three seconds without stopping at all. Hand-held readers are strictly prohibited except in temporary toll plazas.
The authorities have also prohibited back and forth movement of vehicles to adjust FASTag reading. CCTV feed would be checked to verify this and strict penal action would be taken against the concessionaire if such activity is noted, the guidelines pointed out. A relief that will come to the vehicle users is if the ETC is not working, free pass will be given to the valid FASTag holders.