The government will soon prune the number of lanes for cash transaction and increase exclusive lanes only for
vehicles with FASTags at toll plazas on national highways. In its bid to promote FASTags, which help reduce congestion at toll plazas, the road transport ministry is also considering notifying differential toll charge for vehicles with and without FASTags.

Currently, each NH toll plaza has two dedicated “Fastag Express” lanes. Sources said the road transport ministry will also tweak the NH toll fee rules soon to disincentivise cash payment at toll plazas and may gradually go for “less cash” transactions across all toll plazas on NH network.

TOI has learnt that the fresh norms will be notified soon and that these will come into effect in the next three to four months. “Though the government is empowered to amend the rules and can delete the provision of cash payment, it emerged during discussion that such change can be challenged in the court of law since rupee is a legal tender for availing any service,” said an official.

Officials said that fresh measures are being taken considering that currently less than 20% of the total transactions at toll plazas are done through FASTag and hence the congestion has not reduced much. Secondly, toll operators are not keen to push digital transaction since this plugs any chance of toll revenue, which is accounted. Thirdly, even NHAI and the highways ministry need to pull up their socks to put the seamless system in place.

According to the NH toll fee rules, currently the toll fee can be paid “either in cash or through smart card or any on board unit (transponder) or any other like device”.

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