Charanjit Singh Teja & Gurbaxpuri
Tribune News Service
Amritsar/Tarn Taran, Dec 11
The toll plazas at Nijarpurra on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway, Waryamnangal at the Amritsar-Pathankot highway and Usman on the Amritsar-Bathinda highway have been equipped with radio frequency identification (RFID) FASTag readers for electronic toll collection. However, the tags installed by some banks and mobile money wallet apps are not functioning properly.
Generally, a vehicle halts for 20 to 30 seconds but when RFID does not read the FASTag or shows insufficient balance in cash wallet, the traffic movement disrupts for several minutes.
Many drivers were seen arguing with operators when RFID reader did not read their tag.
The Nijarpura toll plaza on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway has designated one lane for electronic toll collection and deployed a guard to prohibit entry of non-FASTag vehicles.
Joyjeet Mandal, incharge, Nijarpura toll plaza, said, “System errors are being reported during instant payment of user charges through FASTag. We are facing issue with FASTag installed by the State Bank of India. Insufficient balance in cash wallets, too, leads to inconvenience to other commuters.”
As the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) had extended the mandatory FASTag rollout day to December 15, lanes are not designated for FASTag-equipped vehicles yet. Non-tag vehicles are allowed to enter in any lane on toll plazas.
The operators at toll plaza said non-FASTag vehicles have to pay double for entering in the ETC lane after December 15. The National Highway Authority asked toll plaza operating companies to designate all lanes for FASTag-equipped vehicles except one lane from December 15.
Santosh Salunkhe, incharge, Waryamnangal toll plaza at the Amritsar-Pathankot highway, said, “We have installed readers on all ten up and down lanes. After December 15, only one lane would be open for non FASTag vehicles, where we will accept cash”.
The toll managers claimed that only about 30 per cent of the vehicles had FASTags. On the Nijarpura toll, 11,000 vehicles crossed the road yesterday. Only 4,000 were equipped with FASTag. Similar figures were recorded at the Waryamnangal and Usman toll plazas.
Driver Rajinder Singh of Piddi village said, “I have a FASTag but even then I have to wait for some moments while passing through toll plaza. Whenever a vehicle gets stuck in the lane due to a system error, the traffic flow is disrupted for several minutes.”
Ajay Singh Jadaun, Manager of Usman toll plaza said, “We also have the facility of bar code reading machines. In case RFID does not read the tag, it helps.”
Bathinda: The FASTag service on the toll plazas at Lehra Bega on Bathinda-Chandigarh highway and Jeeda at Bathinda-Amritsar highway has been activated. In Muktsar district, there is just one toll plaza located at Warring village on Muktsar-Kotkapura road, but the FASTag service has not been activated there till now.
Staff at grocery stores to be checked too