Anticipating that shortage of small denomination currency may add to traffic jams across highways when toll fee collection resumes on Friday midnight, the Centre has decided to issue redeemable cash coupons at toll plazas to meet the demands for small change.
To ensure smooth traffic flow, toll collection was suspended across national highways from November 9, following the announcement to ban high denomination currency.
The coupons — in Rs 5, Rs 10, Rs 50 and Rs 100 denominations — will be made available at all the 370 toll plazas. The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will distribute the coupons to toll operators who can then issue it to commuters as change after toll is paid. All toll plazas will start issuing the coupons from December 5 onwards.
Commuters will be able to redeem the coupons at all NHAI toll plazas till December 30. Any balance amount in these coupons will be refunded till January 31, 2017. “It’s a short-term measure to tackle shortage of small denomination currency and address traffic jams at toll plazas. This will be an additional facility along with the existing system of paying by cash and smart tags,” said a highways ministry official.
The NHAI plans to issue 25 lakh cash coupons per day across toll plazas. Officials said that coupons worth approximately Rs 1 crore will have to be printed.
To ensure that coupons are not forged, NHAI will be taking precautionary measures including having hologram, two dimensional bar codes and unique numbering.
“These coupons cannot be used for making any other transaction,” added another ministry official.
Besides distributing cash coupons, all toll plazas have been equipped with adequate numbers of point of sales machine through which people can make payments using their credit or debit cards. Toll fee can also be paid through prepaid instruments like electronic wallets.
Toll operators will accept old Rs 500 notes till December 15, but this will only be for purchasing smart tags and where toll fee exceeds Rs 200.