Government extends FASTag deadline by a month

Avishek G Dastidar
Chakka Jam to protest FASTag implementation in Surat

FASTag is a prepaid tag affixed on vehicle's windscreen that enables automatic deduction of toll charges and, lets the vehicle pass through the toll plaza without stopping for the cash transaction.

Motorists using national highways got a 30-day extension to equip themselves with FASTags after the government on Saturday decided to not enforce the new rule of mandatory FASTags for another month owing to shortage of tags in the market.

The new system was to start from December 15, and will now be enforced from January 15.

The Road Transport and Highways ministry issued a circular permitting the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to extend the deadline with a partial rollout. It said that at least 75 per cent of all lanes at a toll plaza will have to accept toll through FASTags, and that no more than 25 per cent lanes could be turned “hybrid”, meaning motorists can pay toll in cash as well.

The NHAI had told the ministry that it would try to be ready for a full rollout within 45 days from December 15.

In a letter to the ministry, the NHAI had requested deferment of full rollout of the new system citing a “supply deficit” of FASTags in the market.

The RFID chips, or FASTag, are imported and it takes about six weeks for the import process to complete. Based on that, all companies manufacturing FASTags can together churn out around 30,000 to 50,000 tags each day. As of last week, the inventory of FASTags stood at 18 lakh, which the NHAI considered less than adequate to cover all toll-using vehicle users in India.