The state-owned NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) does not have information about faulty FASTags and penalties collected from motorists in case their FASTags are not working in highway yards.
In the event that the motorist does not have a FASTag or it is ineffective, the person has to pay double the toll at the toll plazas.
According to NHAI, more than 6 crore FASTags have been issued as of October 31, 2022.
However, it does not contain information about the number of defective FASTag cases and the total amount of penalty collected from users even though their vehicles are equipped with a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag.
In response to RTI’s inquiries about the number of defective FASTag cases and the amount of penalties collected from users due to non-functional FASTags, NHAI said, “No such data is available.”
“Total number of 60,277,364 FASTAGs issued as of 10.31.2022,” in response to a request made by PTI under the Right to Information Act.
FASTag allows the user to pay highway tolls electronically without having to stop at toll booths set up by highway operators.
Since February 16, 2021, the government has made the FASTag mandatory for all private as well as commercial vehicles.
According to the rules, vehicles without a valid or functional FASTag must pay twice the toll as a fine.
On whether any punitive action has been taken against any FASTag issuing agency due to a defect in the FASTag, NHAI said, “No such data is available.”
RTI’s response said, “Total fee collection by FASTag since 16.02.2021 to 16.04.2022 as per NPCI data for NHAI fee arena is Rs.39,118.15 crore.”
RTI’s response, quoting data from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), said the total fee collection for the NHAI toll yard during FY22 was Rs.34,535 crore.
Currently, FASTag is issued by 24 banks. There are complaints from users that sometime FASTags do not work properly in public squares, and as a result they have to pay double the traffic fee.
NHAI has set up helpline no. 1033 to address inquiries and complaints in national highway toll yards.
“Most complaints are promptly resolved by the customer service executive. Other complaints are referred to NHAI’s regional offices and banks for necessary decision,” she added.
However, in most cases of complaints about non-functional tags, the user cancels the FASTag and purchases another one or the issuing bank offers a new tag later. But the user never gets back the overcharge already paid due to the unreadable RFID tag.
Indian Highway Management Corporation Limited (IHMCL), which has been combined with equity contributions from NHAI, concessionaire and financial institutions, has been given the task of implementing electronic toll collection on national highways.
However, the IHMCL, which was incorporated under the Companies Act 1956, “does not fall within the definition of a ‘public body’ under Section 2(h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005,” NHAI said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by the NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)
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