As FASTag becomes mandatory, chaos prevails at Kaichachkoot toll plaza on highway

As the government made FASTags mandatory for vehicles, chaos prevailed at Kaichachkoot toll plaza along the NH44 in Anantnag.

Majority of the commuters unaware of the new rule had not fitted their vehicles with the FASTag.

They were seen arguing with the staff at the highway resulting in a traffic mess. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways last week 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.

Hence 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 to that category.

“I left Anantnag for my Srinagar office at 8:00 am. It is 9:00 and I am stuck in a traffic mess at the toll plaza,” said, Maroof Ahmad a daily commuter.

He said that though he has already switched to FASTag but is unable to pass through.

“Yes the deadline for this was extended several times but the authorities during that period should have ensured to aware the commuters by way of distributing material and erecting more hoardings in and around the plaza, Ahmad said.

The commuters also demanded that kiosks to fit the tags in their vehicles should have been set up elsewhere along the highway too. “This would have avoided the mess at the plaza,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, a passenger from Anantnag town.

The vehicles without FASTags are now charged Rs 90 per entry instead of the earlier Rs 135 for the return journey.

“I had no FASTag and was in a hurry to reach Srinagar, so I had to dole out Rs 180 at the plaza today,” said Ahmad.  

Regional Officer NHAI, HemrajBaghat asked the people to avail the facility online, banks, or at toll plazas. “Anyone without tag besides being charged can face penalty too,” he said.

The high tech-initiative is an 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 ordered online, kept a tab of through a mobile application, and the prepaid payments can be made online as well.

The government of India has in recent years set many deadlines 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

Baghat, said the commuters will get all the benefits once they switch over to FASTag. However, the commuters living within a radius of 20 Km around the toll plaza complained that the management at plaza has abolished the monthly pass altogether.

“We have to now pay Rupees 90 for each entry at the toll post, making the cost of the two-way toll 180 rupees,” said Bashir Ahmad of Bijbehara. He said it initially it was a free monthly pass then they were charged Rs 275 for the same.

Commuters from Anantnag town complained they never got the benefits despite falling within the 20 Km radius. “The government order talks of 20 Km radius but the management at toll plaza considers the road distance” said Bilal Ahmad of Iqbalabad locality of Anantnag town.