Andhra Pradesh

FASTag yet to pick up speed in tolls in Vizianagaram, Srikakulam districts

Connecting Kolkata-Chennai, the route has huge wheelfalls, and jams are regular. Lorry owners association says government should give concession to those who already opted for the payment system

In spite of the vigorous campaign, many vehicle owners are not keen to take FASTag which is expected to reduce waiting time at toll plazas. The new system is the need of the hour at Vizianagaram and Srikakulam toll gates where jams are the order of the day. With insufficient staff and poorly maintained computers, its testing the patience of drivers who are forced to wait at least 25 minutes here.

Inspite Although waiting is a perennial problem, many vehicle owners have not yet switched over to the new system. Around 26,000 vehicles ply on this route connecting Kolkata and Chennai. According to sources, only 8,000 vehicle owners have taken FASTags. The government had announced that the new system would come into force from December 15, 2019 but extended the date to January 15 after a request from truckers and others.

Joint campaign selling benefits

In fact, the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) and toll plaza managements have been jointly campaigning at Bhogapuram of Vizianagaram district, Chilakapalem, Madapam, Palasa and Itchapuram tolls. They are distributing pamphlets and explaining Fastag’s benefits to the owners. “We have been requesting drivers to tell their respective owners about the new system. Fuel and time can be saved with the FASTag system,” said a senior executive of the toll plaza located at Natavalasa.

“The amount is collected in advance under the FASTag system. Authorities concerned get huge interest every month if the total amount is calculated. Expenditure on manpower also comes down. So, concession should be given to FASTag takers,” said AP Lorry Owners Association Vice President Mudiya Janakiram.

Excess toll collection objected

Lok Satta Party State Executive President Bhisetti Babji strongly objected excess collection of toll fee in non-FASTag lanes. “Toll plazas are already fleecing public by collecting fee even after recovery of the investment on roads. They should not be allowed to collect excess amount under the guise of entry into non-Fastag lanes. Otherwise, more lanes should be kept for cash collection,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:15:42 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/fastag-yet-to-pick-up-speed-in-vizianagaram-and-srikakulam-district-tolls/article30327753.ece

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