VIJAYAWADA: Fastag users at certain toll plazas are ending up paying excess fee than mandated when completing the return journey within 24 hours. Users can do nothing about it, as the fee is automatically deducted from the vehicle’s FASTag account. Under the manual system, vehicle users could take the return ticket by paying just 1.5 times the regular fee.
For example, the Kalapar-ru toll plaza near Eluru on Chennai-Kolkata National Highway deducted a toll fee of Rs 40 when a vehicle passed it at 8.13 am on Sunday while proceeding in the direction of Kolkata. The vehicle user got within minutes an SMS and mail from the banker on deduction of the toll fee. The same vehicle passed the Kalaparru plaza in return direction about 12 hours later at 9.39 pm. The same amount of Rs 40 was deducted from the FASTag accou-nt, instead of Rs 20 collected in the manual process.
“The board at toll plaza clearly indicates that only Rs 20 must be collected for the return journey on the same day,” the dismayed vehicle user pointed out.
Toll fee collection is in the process of getting automated through FASTag, with the Centre making it mand-atory for all vehicles that will pass through toll plazas from December 15 onwards. Based on the concessional agreement for the plaza concerned, the National Highway Authority of India notifies collection of subsidised toll fee which, in most cases, is half the regular fee, provided the return journey is completed within 24 hours. For some old projects, however, there is no subsidy on return fare.
According to gazette notification 371 issued by the Ministry of Transport and Highways on February 18, 2013, the rate for light motor vehicle at Kalaparru toll plaza, taking 2008 as the base year, is Rs 0.65, which works out to Rs 40 for a one-way trip. Column 6 of the gazette lists out the fee for multiple journeys, according to which only 1.5 times the regular fee should be collected when a vehicle completes two trips within a day. At some plazas, like Kaza between Vijayawada and Guntur, a vehicle can pass any number of times within 24 hours for the same fee.
A senior official at Regio-nal Office of NHAI, Vijaya-wada, told Deccan Chronicle that individual toll plazas do not have access to the main server, wherein the highway authority integrates toll plazas. “None can tamper with the rates,” he maintained. When the excess collection was brought to his notice, he merely said the vehicle user can register a complaint with NHAI.
The NHAI website tis.nhai.gov.in contains details of toll fee collected at every plaza in the country. Vehicle users can cross check the fee on the website and bring excess collection, if any, to attention of the authorities concerned.
Incidentally, information contained on the website is too confusing in case of Keesara toll plaza between Vijayawada and Hydera-bad. Vehicle users are being charged Rs 55 for each trip even if the return journey is completed within 24 hours. The website, however, shows that only Rs 15 should be charged for the return journey.
“This might be a discrepancy. There is no concessional tariff for return journey at Keesara,” the NHAI official clarified....