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Only 56% commuters with FASTags at Dappar Chandimandir tolls

Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Yuvraj Kaushal and Idrees Bukhtiyar
UPDATED ON JAN 16, 2020 12:41 AM IST
With only one cash lane open and double charges for wrong lane & tag mismatch, chaos prevails; later, another month’s extension given to commuters using the two toll plazas

Even as the deadline for mandatory use of FASTags came to an end on Wednesday, the government announced a month’s extension again for 65 toll plazas across the country, including the Chandimandir and Dappar tolls.

The FASTag scheme has not caught on fully as could be seen by long queues in hybrid lanes on Wednesday. The case was no different at toll plazas in Mohali which continued to witness a traffic gridlock for hours.

As per officials of Himalayan Expressway at Chandimandir toll plaza, more than 23,000 commuters crossed the toll both sides till 6pm. Pavnish Chauhan, manager toll plaza, Himalayan Expressway said that a earlier a single cash lane was opened but owing to necessity another lane was opened.

“There are 14 lanes at the toll, seven each on one side. Currently, we have opened only one cash lane each on both sides and six FASTag lanes,” said an official at the toll plaza. “By evening, more than 13,000 vehicles with FASTags crossed the toll, while 10,000 motorists paid in cash,” he said. Officials said there were about 39,000 to 41,000 commuters on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

At GMR Dappar Toll Plaza, public relations officer Deepak Arora said that 29,935 vehicles crossed the plaza on Wednesday, out of which 16, 649 vehicles had FASTag. “We had opened only one hybrid lane on both sides and could manage the traffic. We will continue with one hybrid lane as per government instructions,” Arora said.

National Highways Highway Authority of India (NHAI) which manages Rajpura and Azizpura toll plazas on the Zirakpur-Patiala highway said they too, would continue with one hybrid lane on the both sides from Thursday.

Panchkula and Mohali showed nearabout the same figures, with only 56.5% and 55.6% FASTag commuters respectively.

Inadequate Balance

“On an average, about 52 to 55% commuters have FASTags while the rest pay in cash. in many cases, those who did not have enough balance in their FASTag slowed down traffic movement adding to chaos,” said Pavnish Chauhan, manager at Chandimandir toll plaza.

He further said vehicles without tags entering FASTags lanes as well as those with none or lower than mandatory balance in their tags were charged double.

FASTags are vehicle-specific

“In some instances, where people were using tags of other vehicles on their cars, the tags were not automatically processed by scanners. FASTags are also vehicle specific. During manual scanning, it was found several times that the tag and vehicle details did not match, wherein they were blacklisted and charged double,” Chauhan said.

Bhavnesh Kumar, technical manager NHAI, Rajpura and Azizpura toll plazas said, “40% of vehicles without FASTtags, which entered in FASTag lanes were charged double.”

Uma Shankar Aiyer, manager Bsc- C And C- Kurali Toll Road Limited said, “Only 50% of vehicles crossing our toll plaza on Wednesday had a FASTag. “We will open only one hybrid lane each on both sides from Thursday and will charge double as per official orders,” he said.

Not implemented 100% due to lack of awareness

On December 14, the Centre had relaxed the deadline for mandatory use of FASTag by a month, asking NHAI to accept cash payments on some lanes (not more than 25%). Officials say FASTag was not implemented 100% due to ignorance about the new rule, shortage of stickers and unplanned travel.

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