Toll collection from motorists on National Highways has been temporarily suspended to facilitate speedy movement to emergency services as India fights the coronavirus outbreak.
In a tweet yesterday, Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises Government of India, said: "In view of Covid-19, it has been ordered to temporarily suspend the collection of toll at all toll plazas across India. This will not only reduce inconvenience to the supply of emergency services but also save critical time. Maintenance of roads and availability of emergency resources at toll plaza will continue as usual."
On February 12, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had, in an effort to further increase digital collection of user fee via FASTag at NH fee plazas, waived off the FASTag cost of Rs 100 for NHAI FASTags between February 15-29. During that fortnight, road users could visit any authorised physical point-of-sale locations with a valid Registration Certificate (RC) of the vehicle and get an NHAI FASTag free of cost. NHAI had earlier announced a free NHAI FASTag from November 22 to December 15, 2019 to encourage adopting of FASTag.
A quick refresher for those who don’t know – FASTag is a passive device that is fixed to a car’s windscreen; it uses radio frequency identification (RFID) to enable the FAStag to make cashless toll payments without requiring the vehicle to stop and wait in a queue. While the vehicle is still in motion, the FASTag is detected by dedicated readers positioned in toll plazas, which charge the appropriate amount from whichever account or virtual wallet is linked to the FASTag.
FASTag has a validity of 5 years and after purchasing it, you only need to recharge/ top up the FASTag as per your requirement. FASTag offers near non-stop movement of vehicles through toll plazas and the convenience of cashless payment of toll fee with nation-wide interoperable Electronic Toll Collection Services.
In January 2020, the NHAI initiated a drive for removal of all sorts of speed breakers on National Highways. The step is to ensure smooth and hassle-free traffic movement, especially at toll plazas. With the effective implementation of FASTag on toll plazas and conversion of cash toll lanes to FASTag lanes, the speedbreakers/ rumble strips constructed at toll plazas are being removed for smooth vehicular movement.
An NHAI FASTag may be purchased from all NH fee plazas, RTOs, Common Service Centers, transport hubs and fuel stations.