Electronic toll collection tags known as FASTags will be made mandatory on every toll paying vehicle in four months in an effort to unclog toll plazas, a senior minister has said.
During the same period all toll collection centres, which number more than 500 in the country, will be converted to accept FASTags, Road Transport & Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said in the Lok Sabha on June 16.
“Within four months all our toll plazas will be converted to FASTags and not one person will halt at toll plazas. We have issued 58 lakh FASTags so far,” Gadkari said.
Responding to a Parliamentarian about the issue of vehicles without such tags entering a dedicated ‘tag-only’ lane, Gadkari said, “Within four months every person (with a vehicle) will have to purchase the FASTags sticker and this will be made mandatory. It is already present on new cars and those who do not have the sticker will not be able to get past the toll plaza.”
There are nearly 450 FASTags toll plazas on national and state highways controlled by a mix of National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and private concessionaires such as MEP Infrastructure Developers, IRB Infrastructure Developers and GVK Power & Infrastructure.
Important routes that carry dense traffic such as Mumbai-Pune Expressway, Delhi-Chennai NH-48 and the Dahisar toll plaza in Mumbai have a FASTags collection system. Despite this, vehicles get stuck in queues because commuters who do not have FASTags enter these lanes, pulling down the average speed and leading to delays.
Gadkari said his ministry has constructed over 40,000 km of roads in the past five years and work totalling nearly Rs 11 lakh crore has been awarded by it so far.Electric highways
He added that Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MORTH) and Department of Heavy Industries (DHI) will explore a pilot project of converting a 10 km highway stretch into an electric highway complete with overhead power cables akin to the railways.
Heavy trucks can run at a maximum speed of 100 km per hour on this track, which will be set up at a cost of Rs 200 crore. The power lines will also power the batteries of the trucks, which will also run on diesel thus making it a hybrid vehicle.
Gadkari’s idea is inspired from the 3.1 mile stretch of the Autobahn -- one of world’s most famous freeways in Germany -- where diesel electric hybrid trucks receive power from overhead cables using a pantograph. This is a pilot project too.