In a press note issued today, the central government said that all lanes in fee plazas on National Highways will be becoming FASTag lanes from tomorrow (i.e. February 15) midnight.
It may be recalled that the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had mandated the fitment of FASTag in M and N categories of motor vehicles with effect from January 1.
What this essentially means is that any vehicle not fitted with a valid, functional FASTag will be made to pay a fee, as per the NH Fee Rules 2008. The fee shall be equivalent to twice times of the fee applicable to that category.
The decision to demarcate all the lanes in the fee plazas on National Highways as "FASTag lanes" has been taken to "further promote fee payment through digital mode, reduce waiting time and fuel consumption, and provide for a seamless passage through the fee plazas", according to the press statement issued by the union ministry.
Notably, the government, in its statement, has also clarified the difference between Category 'M' and Category 'N' vehicles.
'Category M' stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying passengers, and 'Category N' stands for a motor vehicle with at least four wheels used for carrying goods, which may also carry persons in addition to the goods.
Earlier in the day, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari had said that the deadline for the implementation of FASTag would not be extended further, and the vehicle owners should immediately adopt the e-payment facility.
FASTags, which facilitate electronic payment of fee at toll plazas, was introduced in 2016. Making the tags compulsory would also help in ensuring that vehicles pass seamlessly through the toll plazas, as the fee payment would be done electronically.
Replying to a query on FASTags at the Nagpur airport, Gadkari said the government had extended FASTag registration date limit two-three times before; and now, it would not be extended further. Now, everybody should immediately buy FASTag.
The FASTag registration has gone up to 90 per cent on some routes and only 10 per cent people are left. FASTag is also available on toll nakas and people should purchase and use it for seamless traffic, he said.
The central government extended the FASTag deadline for the vehicles from January 1, 2021, to February 15, 2021.
(With inputs from agencies)