New Delhi: In view of the serpentine vehicle queues at the cash payment lanes of toll plazas after Wednesday's FASTag roll out, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has decided to relax norms for the next 30 days at 65 toll plazas with high cash transactions.
The list includes two toll plazas in Kerala - Kumbalam in Ernakulam district and Paliyekkara in Thrissur district.
This means that more cash payment lanes will be opened at the plazas to facilitate smooth traffic.
Cash is being accepted in only one lane after Wednesday's FASTag roll out.
With the new decision, cash payment will be accepted in 25% of the total lanes. Vehicles with FASTag can also pass through these lanes.
"Depending on the traffic pile up at these 65 fee plazas, not more than 25 per cent 'FASTag lane of Fee Plaza' may be temporarily converted to hybrid lanes. This is to be considered and decided on a case to case basis not below the level of the RO concerned," the Road Transport and Highways Ministry said in a letter to NHAI Chairman SS Sandhu.
"It is clarified that it is a temporary measure to be adopted for 30 days only for such 65 fee plazas to facilitate smooth flow of traffic so that no inconvenience is caused to the citizens. NHAI shall take necessary measures within this time to ensure smooth flow of traffic through the fee plazas and ensure declaring 'FASTaglane of FeePlaza' for all the lanes within this period," it said.
The decision has been taken on the request of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).
The government had launched FASTag-based electronic toll collection mechanism from December 15 across all toll plazas of the NHAI. The tag became mandatory on January 15.
Post FASTag, the NHAI last week recorded the highest Rs 86.2 crore toll collection in a day.
The highest daily toll collection via electronic system of FASTags has also been recorded at Rs 50 crore (single day collection) in January 2020 as compared to Rs 23 crore in November 2019.
The daily transactions via FASTags have also risen to around 30 lakh per day in January 2020 from 8 lakh in July 2019.
As per NHAI Chairman, Jodhpur toll plaza in Jaipur region has outperformed others in implementation of FASTags with around 91 per cent of toll collection taking place via FASTags.
Toll plazas in Bhopal and Gandhinagar have also performed well in FASTag implementation.
As of December 2019, over 1 crore FASTags have been issued with over 30 lakh FASTags given in November and December, following daily sales of 1.5-2 lakh FASTags.
FASTags-based toll collection system has been rolled out across over 527 national highways.