Agency seeks deployment of police personnel at plazas from Dec.15, the extended deadline to affix tag

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has earmarked a total of eight bays at its Kumbalam toll plaza on the NH bypass and ten bays at Ponnarimangalam toll plaza on Container Road in the district exclusively for motorists who have affixed the FASTag on their vehicles.

Thus, vehicles not bearing the tag would have to jostle for space through the sole lane at the extreme end of plazas from December 15 — the extended deadline to affix the tag at the top centre of the front windscreen of vehicles. They would also have to pay double the toll rate.

NETC programme

The NHAI has exhorted motorists to purchase the tag under the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) programme. For this, the agency has equipped its toll plazas with the electronic toll collection system.

It has also launched myFASTag APP whereby all info regarding the tag can be obtained along with location of point of sale (POS) machines, charging/linking with NHAI/other wallets or bank accounts.

‘No shortage’

Meanwhile, NHAI’s Kochi project director P. Pradeep has said that there is no shortage of tags either at Kumbalam or Ponnarimangalam toll plazas, as on the past weekend. Already, over 25% of vehicles using the two plazas have affixed the FASTag, it is learnt.

As was the earlier norm, the software is such that it deducts the pre-fixed (lesser) amount from motorists who opt to make a return trip through the same toll plaza within 24 hours.

“The toll rate will be the same. Only the mode of payment has changed,” official sources said. “

“We have sought deployment of police personnel at the toll plazas from December 15 as a precautionary measure, considering the change in mode of toll payment,” they added.

The tags can also be sourced from 21 banks, said Bipin Madhu, manager (technical) of NHAI at its Thiruvananthapuram regional office. “It ushers in transparency since there is no physical cash transaction, lessens manpower cost at toll plazas and prevents wastage of fuel and time,” Mr. Madhu said.

A regular commuter on the Thrissur route said that the NHAI had to streamline flow of vehicles at Paliyekkara toll plaza since many motorists were unsure of which all bays were for FASTag holders.

The agency must affix adequate number of sign boards in multiple languages for this, he said.

In the meantime, it has to be seen whether the NHAI will initiate toll collection on Kollam Bypass and the yet-to-be-opened Alappuzha Bypass since the State government had vociferously opposed it, sources said. The State’s contention is that it provided half the project cost for their construction and hence the NHAI cannot collect toll.

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