NHAI is giving motorists redeemable coupons worth Rs. 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 which are valid till Dec. 30
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has introduced a “new currency” to deal with the shortage of loose change at its toll plazas.
The NHAI is giving motorists redeemable coupons worth Rs. 5, Rs. 10, Rs. 20, Rs. 50 and Rs. 100 that are valid till December 30.
NHAI Chairman Yudhvir Singh Malik said that the department was indeed distributing coupons to motorists but admitted that “the usage of redeemable coupons has been negligible. Only 0.3-0.4 per cent commuters have used the redeemable coupons so far.”
Mr. Malik said those who were unable to use the coupons by December 30 could redeem them for cash at any national highway toll plaza after the deadline.
Skylark Group, the company that operates the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, said that the firm had been distributing coupons at the Kherki Dhaula toll plaza since December 10.
As a last resort
But the company’s Project Head, Piyush Gandhi, told The Hindu that coupons were being given only as a last resort as loose change was now readily available.
He said the company received coupons worth over Rs. 10 lakh from the NHAI on December 10 to be distributed to motorists.
The usage of coupons is not widespread in Karnataka, with only two concessionaires in the State having approached the NHAI for them.
Officials said that most of the coupons taken for use by the operators had been for Rs. 5 and Rs. 10.
Toll booths in the State have been accepting card-based payments since the resumption of toll collection earlier this month.
Toll plazas in the Chennai region have been managing with the available change, NHAI sources said. The seven plazas around Chennai have not received any coupon from motorists travelling from other places.
“Motorists only want cash and not coupons. The number of persons using PoS machines to swipe their credit/debit cards and RFID tags has gone up,” the sources pointed out.
Toll attendants at the Kherki Dhaula toll plaza on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway said that commuters were reluctant to accept coupons as they were apprehensive of their validity.
“Every time we try to give coupons as loose change, we have to explain to the commuters. It is not only time-consuming but also most commuters refuse to accept them,” a toll attendant said.
Rakesh, a motorist, said the coupon system blocked their money as they could not be used anywhere else.
(With inputs from Gurugram, Bengaluru and Chennai)