The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways on Sunday has announced that it has made FASTags mandatory from February 15 midnight and any vehicle not fitted with it will be charged double the toll at electronic toll plazas across the country.
The Centre in a statement said that it has decided that all lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways shall be declared as ‘FASTag lane of the fee plaza’ from midnight of 15th/16th February 2021.
The step has been taken to further promote fee payment through digital mode, reduce waiting time and fuel consumption, and provide for a seamless passage through the fee plazas. The Ministry had mandated fitment of FASTag in M&N categories of motor vehicles with effect from 1st January 2021.
Category ‘M’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers and, Category ‘N’ stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods, which may also carry persons in addition to goods.
While the Centre has made FASTags mandatory at all plazas, as a breather to the highway commuters, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has withdrawn the requirement of maintaining a minimum amount in the FASTag wallet to ensure seamless movement at electronic toll plaza.
According to the highway ministry, in order to increase the FASTag penetration and to reduce avoidable delays at the toll plazas, it has removed the mandatory threshold for the FASTag account or wallet. With this decision, a user will now be allowed to pass through the toll plaza, if the FASTag account/ wallet balance is non-negative.
The guideline issued by the ministry pertains to the process of toll-collection, and all vehicles passing through a toll plaza are to have the FASTag, the electronic toll collection, affixed to their windshields.