Hyderabad: Ahead of polls, outer ring road jam-packed

Hyderabad: Heavy traffic snarls have been reported across all toll plazas on the outer ring road (ORR). Commuters claimed that due to poor management, the agencies had been allowing vehicles on dedicated FASTag lanes, which caused the traffic jams.

They said that the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority (HMDA) and toll agency had failed to erect signboards indicating exclusive electronic toll lanes ever since their inception. This laxity by the municipal authority created ruckus on the ORR on Tuesday and the situation got heightened because 1,05,577 vehicles travelled on the outer ring road.

As per the agreement entered by the toll agency, it is supposed to clear traffic at the toll plazas without collecting any fee if more than 20 vehicles made a beeline at cash counters. But violating norms, the toll agency has been collecting a fee even though more than 30 vehicles were stranded at the plazas.

Sharing his experience, Mr Rupesh, a commuter who was travelling on ORR to reach his native village in AP from Nanakramguda, pointed out that earlier the radio frequency identification (RFID) readers at toll plazas were not reading the FASTags.

“But now due to poor toll management, the vehicles which do not have FASTags have been entering into the dedicated lanes interrupting the free flow,” he said.

Mr Avinash said, “What is the point of introducing an electronic toll system when we have been stranded for 30 minutes despite having FASTags?”

He said that the municipal authority did not have any signboards indicating dedicated FASTags lanes. He added that this was third time he was stranded at Shamshabad toll plaza after the introduction of the e-toll system.

He said during holidays and the current poll season, more than 30 vehicles piled up at each toll plaza due to manual toll collection.

However, ORR chief general manager B.L.N. Reddy said that in order to facilitate commuters, the toll agency had set up three additional temporary cash counters at Shamshabad to facilitate commuters travelling to different parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

He said that over 95,000 vehicles travelled on Tuesday and the number might go up to 1 lakh by Thursday morning.

When asked about allowing vehicles which do not have RFID tags into dedicated FASTags lanes, the official said the problem would be rectified at the earliest.

He also said that they would enquire with the toll agency and instruct them to allow if more than 20 vehicles accumulated at the toll counters. Mr Reddy said that the HMDA would ensure that agreement entered would not be violated.

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