Cover Story Jammu & Kashmir The Lead

FASTag: Choas continues at toll plaza Chachkoot, commuters suffer

Awantipora, Mar 01: Choas continues to prevail at the toll plaza Chachkoot as drivers from different areas alleged that they are forced to pay toll even after waiting for more than three minutes which is against the rules of the national highway.

As per the rules of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) if a vehicle is delayed for more than 3 minutes at a toll plaza, then one needn’t pay the toll tax.

However, drivers alleged that they were forced to wait for over 10 minutes and still have to pay the toll.

“There is a total waiting time of three minutes if the three minutes waiting exceeds, then there is a provision that passes the vehicle free of cost but that isn’t happening on the ground,” said Shabir Ahmad a sumo driver from Anantnag.

Drivers said that even those who are living in 20 kilometres of radius and have been exempted from paying toll are also forced to pay toll.

Drivers from different areas of Kashmir said that those who haven’t availed Fastag facility yet are paying 2 times toll than they used to pay earlier.

They said that the government claimed that Fastag will save their time, however, so far everything is going on in the opposite way as it takes so much us to cross toll plaza due to traffic jam.

People who are trying to get the Fastag facility also said that they have to wait for hours to get to this facility due to heavy rush.

It is noteworthy that all the 12 lanes at Toll Plaza K.koot, Awantipora on NH-44 has been equipped with FASTags.

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways before two weeks announced that all lanes in the fee plazas on National, Highways shall be declared as ‘’FASTag lane of the fee plaza’’ from midnight of February 15, 2021.

Accordingly, as per NH Fee Rules 2008, any vehicle not fitted with FASTag or vehicle without valid functional FASTag entering into the FASTag lane of the fee plaza shall pay a fee equivalent to two times the fee applicable.

The high tech-initiative is internet-based aimed at promoting fee payment through digital mode, saving precious time and fuel consumption. It provides for a seamless passage through the fee plazas.

It can be even ordered online through a mobile application, and prepaid payments can be made online as well.

The Government of India has in recent years set various timelines for making this Tag mandatory for all vehicles. The deadline was recently rescheduled from January 1 to February 15, giving some more time to the commuters to get these tags fixed on their vehicles.

Javaid Ahmad, Manager of the concerned toll plaza while talking to news agency acknowledged that as per national highway rules, they have to leave vehicle free of cost if they wait for three minutes but some drivers are creating mess who without any issue start fighting with the staff.

He said that once everyone will get Fastag facility such things won’t happen.

“Around 80 per cent of vehicles have already availed the facility and hopefully others will also get the facility in coming days,” he said while requesting people to cooperate as Fastag is for their benefit.

 

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