Telangana

Panthangi toll plaza opens all lanes to non-FASTag vehicles

Festival rush: Vehicles lined up at the Panthangi toll plaza near Choutuppal on the Hyderabad-Vijyawada highway on Saturday.

Festival rush: Vehicles lined up at the Panthangi toll plaza near Choutuppal on the Hyderabad-Vijyawada highway on Saturday.  

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At one stage, Sankranti rush sees vehicles stranded even up to 2 km

The difference between FASTag and non-FASTag vehicles was erased at the Panthangi toll plaza on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada road (NH65) on Saturday, as officials, unable to control the heavy Sankranti rush of vehicles towards Vijayawada, opened all the lanes to cash payment also.

The flow of the vehicles started in the early hours of the day, with thousands of them stranded up to 800 metres almost throughout the day.

Toll officials, anticipating heavy flow of vehicles ferrying people to home-town for the harvest festival, began the day by allotting nine of the 16 lanes to traffic towards Vijayawada and ran two exclusive cash counters, while others were ‘FASTag Express-No Cash’. However, by 8.30 a.m., the volume of traffic was so heavy that it stretched to about 2 km on the bottleneck leading to the toll plaza.

According to officials, the day started well, but traffic became uncontrollable as non-FasTAG vehicles outnumbered FASTag ones at the plaza. There were long queues and the ‘No Cash’ lanes also had to be opened to cash payment. The situation came under control only after 2 p.m., they said.

Largest gateway

The Panthangi toll plaza, the largest gateway between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, is also the second busiest plaza in the State. Even during usual days, the traffic towards the Narketpally-Addanki State highway and towards the Suryapet-Khammam highway touches this toll plaza.

Hourly figures, available till 6 p.m. on Saturday, showed that only 50% of the vehicles had a ‘FASTag exit’. Of the 27, 726 vehicles that touched the plaza in the Vijayawada direction, 13,958 had FASTag stickers.

Worried lot

FASTag riders were a worried lot, as the electronic sticker on their windshield served only the purpose of payment, but did not ensure a hassle-free, and time- and fuel-saving trip.

Officials, however, were bracing for more traffic on Sunday. To meet the situation, they would use hand-held devices for toll collection, besides creating awareness on FASTag sales.

They said FASTag stickers could be purchased even before reaching the Panthangi toll plaza at hotel Village Aaharam, Koyalagudem, in the Vijayawada direction, and at Hotel Vivera, N Grill and 7R near Suryapet in the Hyderabad direction.

Officials said that on Saturday, the total number of vehicles that moved in both directions was 40, 995, double the daily average of 20,136.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 7:53:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/toll-plaza-opens-all-lanes-to-non-fastag-vehicles/article30545885.ece

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