From 15 January, vehicles using the national highways in India will mandatorily have to pay toll electronically through RFID stickers issued by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) called FASTag. These radio-frequency identification based tags are linked to mobile wallets from various payment providers to automatically pay tolls at the tollbooth.
However, if for some reason the RFID scanner at the tollbooth is not able to read the tag properly on a vehicle, NHAI has issued a notification that such vehicles should be allowed to pass for free.
A notification dated 7 May 2018 from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways states:
“Provided also that if a vehicle user with a valid, functional FASTag or any such device with sufficient balance in the linked account crossing a fee plaza installed with Electronic Toll Collection infrastructure, is not able to pay user fee through FASTag or any such device owing to malfunctioning of Electronic Toll Collection infrastructure, the vehicle user shall be permitted to pass the fee plaza without payment of any user fee. An appropriate zero transaction receipt shall be issued mandatorily for all such transactions.
The Ministry for Road Transport and Highways had announced the implementation of FASTags on all vehicles from 16 January 2020. The idea behind switching to an electronic toll collection mechanism like FASTag for private or commercial vehicles, was to reduce waiting times at toll plazas on the national highways and keep traffic moving.
Even vehicles that are exempt from paying toll like ambulances, VIP vehicles and authorised defence vehicles must install FASTag’s which won’t have any toll deducted from them. These are a special category of “exempt FASTags”.
If a user does not have a FASTag, he or she will have to pay double the toll amount in cash as a penalty.
There are 22 banks or payment providers who have been authorised to sell FASTag to users including ICICI Bank, Axis, SBI, Paytm, Airtel and others. NHAI has so far issued over 1.15 crore FASTags in the country and about 523 toll plazas have the facility to collect tolls through this system.
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