Dibya J Borthakur
RAHA, Nov 19 - The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has decided to reopen the five toll plazas of the State from the first week of January, 2020 in a phased manner. The toll plazas opened earlier on the NH-37 and NH-31 were closed down twice – in 2015 and in 2018 – following massive protests by several organisations of the State including the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP). The Government of India has also decided that collection of toll on the toll plazas on the National Highways will be based on the FASTag system from December 2019.
This was informed by Alok Kumar, Regional Officer (RO), North-East Zone, NHAI to this correspondent on Tuesday. He also informed that collection of revenue is estimated to be around Rs 50 lakh which will be used for the development of this region by constructing flyovers.
The toll plazas to be reopened include: (i) Mikrati Hawagaon Daboka-Nagaon on the NH-36, (ii) Dahalapara on the NH-31, (iii) Path gaon on the NH-31, (iv) Nazirakhat on the NH-37 and (v) Madanpur on NH -31.
“We have already engaged maintenance contractors on the Jagiroad to Maibong section and the Guwahati to Bongaigaon section. In other sections, awarding of maintenance contract is in an advanced stage, said Kumar. He added that the NHAI is committed to maintain the quality of the highway at any cost and providing ambulance, patrolling vehicles and cranes to tackle any emergency, and for that the smooth functioning of the toll gates in the State is necessary.
The Regional Officer further informed that as per the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India’s notification dated November 2, 2017, the collection of toll from December 2019 at all lanes of fee plazas on the National Highways will be based on the FASTag system to avoid queues and waiting. Speaking on the development, Kumar said , “We are transitioning to FASTag at all the toll plazas in the State. The move will ensure hassle-free driving for thousands of commuters who travel along the National Highways.’’
It is to be mentioned that FASTag is a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology equipped reloadable tag. It is linked to a registered prepaid account that allows automatic deduction of toll charges as a commuter passes through a toll plaza. Meanwhile, the NHAI has already engaged an FASTag selling agency at all toll plazas. “This apart, the FASTag can also be purchased and recharged online or at selected banks including the ICICI, SBI and HDFC etc”, the Regional Officer said.
Simultaneously, as per the Government Gazette notification, any vehicle user without a FASTag entering into a ‘FASTag lane’ at a NH fee plaza shall have to pay a fee equivalent to two times of the applicable fees to that category of vehicle.
As of now, four toll plazas are operational in Meghalaya – two on the Jorabat to Barapani and the Shillong bypass sections and two on the Jowai to Ratachera section.