Free FASTag for divyangs on National Highways

New Delhi, Jan 7: In a big relief for divyangs, all vehicles registered in the name of persons with disabilities will be allowed for free ride across the national highway network.

Such differently abled persons will need to get a “zero transaction” or free FASTag for their vehicles from the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has notified this provision to exempt such vehicles from paying toll charges in the NH Fee Rules.

This will bring huge relief to a large number of persons with disabilities (PwDs).

Till now only the vehicles especially designed for the use by such persons were exempted from paying toll tax in India. This was limited to only for the vehicles modified for the use by a PwD and such vehicles were defined as “invalid carriage” in the Central Motor Vehicle Act.

As per the 2011 Census, nearly 2.7 core people in India had disability. But only a very small percentage of them drive a vehicle.

According to the ministry, the NHAI will process the requests of only those persons who have got a certificate as specified by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. Only the vehicles with the zero transaction tag will be exempted from paying the toll charge on NH.

The government has made the provision of the “zero transaction FASTag” for different exempted categories of vehicles attached to persons such as MPs, judges of High Courts and Supreme Courts, MLAs in their home state, chief secretaries, secretaries in the Central government and vehicles deployed for essential services to ensure that no unauthorised person avails the exemption.

The rampant practice of forged exemption results in revenue loss for projects and NHAI, which collect toll charges to recover the investment in the construction, widening and maintenance of NHs.