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Relief for commuters! Toll collection on national highways suspended temporarily due to COVID-19 outbreak

Devanjana Nag

Toll relief! Big announcement by Road Transport and Highways Ministry! In view of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the government has decided to suspend the collection of toll on national highways on a temporary basis. Recently, Nitin Gadkari announced that the collection of toll at all the national highway toll plazas across the country has been temporarily suspended by the government. According to the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India, the move will not only reduce inconvenience to the supply of emergency services but it will also save critical time. The minister further said that the maintenance of roads, as well as availability of emergency resources at all toll plazas, will continue as usual.

According to a PTI report, the Road Transport and Highways Ministry had earlier advised the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to follow the guidelines of the Home Ministry about the operations of toll plazas, following the lockdown of the country due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The electronic toll collection programme was rolled out by the NHAI in the month of December across the country on more than 500 toll plazas.

In an attempt to give prime importance to those using FASTags, to prevent defaulters as well as to encourage the adoption of FASTags by the National Highway (NH) commuters, the vehicles that entered FASTag lanes without FASTags were charged double the toll fee. The report further stated that last month, more than Rs 20 crore was collected from as many as 20 lakh vehicles encroaching FASTag lanes across the country.

Nearly two crore FASTags through multiple Point of Sale (PoS) locations have been issued. Last month, the FASTag transaction by the NHAI had crossed four million per day. Moreover, in a bid to increase the digital collection of user fee via FASTag at NH toll plazas, the FASTag cost of Rs 100 was also waived off by the NHAI for NHAI FASTag, the report added.