With the Modi government opting for a calibrated unlock of business activities, the FASTags have become the preferred mode of toll collection in as many as 780 toll plazas, including all 660 toll plazas under the NHAI.
With the number of Covid cases reducing in India, traffic seems to be hurrying back to the highways, as per the official data on usage of FASTags. The toll collected through this electronic mode by the end of June touched Rs 97 crore in a day, and Rs 103 crore by 1 July 2021. This figure is just short of the all-time daily high of Rs 107 crore, collected in the month of March, just before the second Covid wave hit, as per the official data. With the Modi government opting for a calibrated unlock of business activities, the FASTags have become the preferred mode of toll collection in as many as 780 toll plazas, including all 660 toll plazas under the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI). So far, more than 3.45 crore FASTags have been issued, according to an IR report.
On 1 July 2021, a total of 63 lakh FASTag transactions were recorded. Through FASTag tolls, the government earned Rs 2,576 crore across the month of June, a jump of 21% from May. According to officials, barring certain states, like Tamil Nadu, Odisha, West Bengal and Rajasthan, the uptick in FASTag transactions is steady. In the month of March, just before the second Covid wave hit, the usage of FASTag hit a peak of 19.3 crore transactions a month. But from April, when the number of novel coronavirus cases started spiking, that figure dipped to 16.4 crore transactions worth around an amount of Rs 2,776 crore.
In May, when COVID-19 active cases reached a peak of 90 lakh, tag data showed as many as 11.6 crore transactions worth around Rs 2,100 crore. Over most of May, the cities and towns which were majorly hit by Covid, were in various modes of lockdown. According to officials, data from the month of June indicate that effects of the second COVID-19 wave, as signified by highway traffic, may be on the wane. Last year, around this time, in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic, the FASTag transactions stood at around 8 crore in total, translating into Rs 1,511 crore. In September 2020, which saw the peak of the first wave with over 26 lakh Covid cases, highways clocked as many as 11 crore FASTag transactions worth Rs 1,940 crore, the report added.