BENGALURU: In cheering news for those who are yet to procure FASTags, which facilitate electronic mode of payment by vehicles at toll booths, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) on Saturday has extended the last date for mandatory adoption of this feature by a month now. It was supposed to be effected from December 15 initially.
This follows a request earlier this week from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to the Ministry calling for an extension by 45 days citing a shortage of tags due to the high demand.
The new deadline for implementation will be January 15 now, an NHAI official told TNIE. The Ministry had initially fixed a deadline of December 1, then extended it up to December 15 and it has been deferred by another month today.
As per the previous directive from the Transport Ministry, those not using FASTag will have to pay double the toll fee if they pass through these lanes or can wait for long and pay the normal fee through the single lane where cash payments would be accepted.
The NHAI letter sent on December 11 speaks of a supply deficit in the market mainly on account of the chips used in the tag which facilitate the Radio Frequency Identification Technology.
"The chip is imported and it has a lead time of 6 weeks and the average total production capacity of all manufacturers is in range of 30,000 to 50,000 per day. "There is supply deficit in the market and all citizens have not been able to obtain FASTag," it said.
The Ministry's decision to waive off the basic cost of the tag within the mandatory period to goad public to opt for it has resulted in exponential demand across the country with 1.96 lakh purchased on a single day (December 6), it explained.
The NHAI has written to the Ministry after two meetings held last week, one with tag manufacturers and another with issuing banks, it added.
Presenting the Bangalore scenario, an official said that upto 15,000 FASTags have been sold in the City. "Until January 15, we will have 75% implementation in each toll gate but in and around Bengaluru, we will have 50% implementation in each toll gate from Sunday."
Specifying details, he said that the Sadahalli toll plaza had 18 gates, nine towards Devanahalli airport and nine in the reverse direction apart from a VIP lane. We are looking at having 4 lanes catering to FASTag user and four for cash payment. "The same would be done at all toll plazas in and around Bengaluru like Electronic City, Nelamangala and Hoskote due to heavy influx at all its toll gates," he added.
In the case of many other toll plazas in the State, NHAI would reserve 2 out of 8 gates for cash payment mode, the official said.