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 plaza collection is urgently needed for the maintenance of the highway and the NHAI is extremely concerned about that.
The toll plazas opened earlier on the NH-37 and NH-31 wereclosed down twice – in 2015 and in 2018 – following protests by severalorganisations of the State including the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS)and the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP).
But this time authorities were determined to open it as itwas working all over.
This was informed by Alok Kumar, Regional Officer (RO), North-East Zone, NHAI media and said that the revenue to be estimated to be around Rs 50 lakh per day which would be used for the development of this region by constructing flyovers.
The toll plazas to be reopened include: (i) Mikrati HawagaonDaboka-Nagaon on the NH-36, (ii) Dahalapara on the NH-31, (iii) Path gaon onthe 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 the 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 theMinistry of Road Transport and Highways, Government of India's notificationdated November 2, 2017, the collection of toll from December 2019 at all lanesof fee plazas on the National Highways will be based on the FASTag system toavoid queues and waiting. Speaking on the development, Kumar said , "We aretransitioning to FASTag at all the toll plazas in the State. The move willensure hassle-free driving for thousands of commuters who travel along theNational Highways.''
It is to be mentioned that FASTag is a Radio FrequencyIdentification (RFID) technology equipped reloadable tag. It is linked to aregistered prepaid account that allows automatic deduction of toll charges as acommuter passes through a toll plaza. Meanwhile, the NHAI has already engagedan FASTag selling agency at all toll plazas. "This apart, the FASTag can alsobe purchased and recharged online or at selected banks including the ICICI, SBIand 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 feeplaza shall have to pay a fee equivalent to two times of the applicable fees tothat 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 theJowai to Ratachera section.