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Migration to dedicated FASTag lanes begins

Four toll plazas under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the State are in the process of migration to dedicated exclusive FASTag lanes to meet the December 1 deadline set by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

Dedicated exclusive FASTag lanes have come up in three of the 12 lanes of the Paliakkara toll plaza between Mannuthy and Edappally National Highway (NH) 66 corridor where over 45,000 motor vehicles moves through daily after paying the toll.

Three lanes of the toll plaza at Ponnarimangalam on Kalamaserry-ICTT Vallarapadam stretch and at Pampallam toll plaza on Walayar-Wadakancherry NH 66 corridor have also switched over. Two lanes of the toll plaza at Kumbalam on the Edappally-Aroor NH corridor have become dedicated exclusive FASTag lane.

“Every seven days, one lane in these plaza will migrate to achieve December 1 deadline,” NHAI official told The Hindu. NHAI’s upcoming toll plaza at Thiruvallam on the Kazhakuttam-Karode NH 66 bypass will also have dedicated FASTag lane.

FASTags are prepaid tags for toll collection that allow automatic payment at toll plazas. The tag affixed on the front windscreen of vehicles uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology to deduct the toll fees.

An SMS alert will land on the registered phone number for each deduction from the FASTag account. After December 1, non-FASTag users will be charged double the fee if they pass through these lanes as per the National Highway Fee (Determination of Rates and Collection) Rules, 2008.

If adequate balance is not maintained, the FASTag gets blacklisted at the toll plaza itself. In such a situation, the customer will not be able to avail themselves of the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) services.

FASTag has unlimited validity. Separate tags are needed for each vehicle and the same FASTag can be used across all toll plazas under the NETC scheme.

The system promotes faster, digital payment and allows seamless movement of vehicles. All four-wheelers manufactured and sold from December 1, 2017, come pre-fitted with FASTags and those owning four-wheelers before it will have to get one.

As part of promoting the system, all FASTag users are being provided a monthly cashback of 2.5% of toll transactions till 31 March, 2020. FASTag can also be recharged online through credit card, debit card / NEFT/ RTGS/Net banking/UPI.

Several States have signed MoUs to link the State toll through the system. Upgrade of the software will help link the e-way bill and vehicle fines. The NHAI was planning to link FASTag with the insurance of vehicle so that blacklisted users could be penalised, sources said. The NHAI is also making non-payment of toll an offence under Motor Vehicles Act.

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