CHENNAI: NHAI has tied up with five banks and also upgraded automatic payment system for complete migration of electronic toll payment programme at toll gates. “Motorists can walk into any branches of HDFC, Axis, South Indian Bank, SBI and ICICI banks and purchase the FASTags devices. In addition, bank representatives have also been deployed at all the toll gates to assist buyers,” said NHAI officials.
To open an FASTag account, motorists should produce a copy of vehicle registration certificate, two photos of vehicle owner along with proof of identify such as Aadhaar, PAN card or Voters Identity card.
“Once the FASTag account is opened, we will help them instal the application in their mobile phones. From then on, FASTag can be recharged through mobile app. The minimum and maximum limit for transaction sum will be announced shortly ,” said an NHAI project director.
Apart from banks, there are plans to sell FASTags at Highway nests and oil company outlets. The outlets have not been finalised yet. Fastag prepaid accounts are so far well patronised by frequent travellers and commercial vehicles, including national permit lorries, travel and omni buses. However, on the flip side, regular commuters who paid their payment through FASTag said they frequently faced technical glitches at toll gates.
Santhosh Narayanan of Vellore and a regular commuter on NH 7 said, “On a few occasions automated system failed to recognise the device in my vehicle and I paid the cash. By the time, I left the toll, the money got deducted. It took nearly 15 to 20 days to get back the money,”. NHAI rules stipulate that the refund request in FASTags accounts should be submitted within 15 days from the date of deduction.
In June 2018, following repeated complaints over technical glitches, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways ordered that if a vehicle, with a valid functional FASTag was not able to pay user fee electronically owing to malfunctioning of toll collection infrastructure, the vehicle user should be permitted to pass the toll gate without making payment. But, the order is yet to be implemented and motorists had been asked to make payment in cash.
However, NHAI officials assured that all technical snags in electronic payments have been fixed and more employees will be deployed during the migration.
Tamil Nadu State Sand Lorry Owners Federation (TNSSLF) president S Yuvraj said though the move will reduce congestion, they will continue to press for making the toll fee annually at one go. “We are ready to pay the entire user fee once at a time. It may bring transparency in toll collection.