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Frayed tempers, confusion reign at toll plazas

Motorists without FASTags resist paying double fee

As the new rule to collect a double fee from vehicles entering toll plazas without FASTags kicked in on Tuesday, tempers soared and confusion reigned in Bengaluru, Karnataka. Motorists without FASTags were seen arguing with toll plaza employees over paying the double fee.

At the Sadahalli gate toll plaza, cars heading towards the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) without a FASTag ended up paying ₹380 as toll fee for the round trip, whereas ₹140 was collected from cars fitted with it. Some of the taxi drivers who did not have enough cash to pay the fee were seen taking a U-turn at the toll plaza. Somasundaram, a resident of Bengaluru, said: “The NHAI [National Highways Authority of India] should have given more time to install FASTags… The new rules burden the common people. It costs ₹400 to buy a FASTag. The government should have made it more affordable.”

Rajesh M., a taxi driver, said: “Most taxi drivers are not in a position to make an advance deposit for FASTags as we all depend on a daily income. They ask for a double fee for not maintaining a balance. The NHAI should have continued with at least one cash lane.”

Local police were deployed to maintain law and order. Kannada activist Vatal Nagaraj staged a protest at the toll plaza and accused the Central government of “daylight robbery” by making FASTags mandatory. “By increasing fuel and LPG prices, and now imposing hefty penalty on motorists at toll plazas, the Union government is harassing common people. We will protest on all the highways if the Central government fails to repeal the new rules within a week,” he said.

Arguments were also seen at the toll plaza located near the Nagasandra metro station on Tumakuru road. Vehicle owners, especially goods vehicles and autorickshaws, resisted imposition of the hefty penalty.

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