QatarRail launches Green Line, adds four Red Line stations | Now all Doha Metro lines open for public

QatarRail launches Green Line, adds four Red Line stations

Now all Doha Metro lines open for public

DOHA: Qatar Rail (QR) launched the preview service of Doha Metro’s Green Line and 4 new stations in the Red Line, including the link to Hamad International Airport (HIA) yesterday.

The Green Line, which runs across east to west of Doha, includes 11 stations namely: Al Mansoura, Msheireb, Al Bidda, The White Palace, Hamad Hospital, Al Messila, Al Rayyan Al Qadeem, Al Shaqab, Qatar National Library, Education City and Al Riffa (Mall of Qatar). So shoppers heading to Mall of Qatar can take the Green Line and get down at the Al Riffa station and walk into the mall.

A statement issued by Qatar Rail’s Green Line project director, engineer Jassim al-Ansari, said in a statement stated: “The launch of the Green Line preview service is expected to significantly increase the number of passengers using the metro.

The Green Line acts as an East and West connection for Doha, and will serve new residential areas and tourist destinations, including Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Foundation, Qatar National Library (QNL) and Mall of Qatar (MoQ), further facilitating the movement of people to more locations, cultural attractions and lifestyle destinations across the city.”

On the Red line, Doha Metro also started its preview service for Hamad International Airport station and for Katara, Qatar University and Lusail bringing the total number of stations open across the network to 36.

Metro passengers travelling to different stations of the three lines can also board the train going to HIA, except stations that are out of its way. They can seek the assistance of customer service and metro staff at every station.

Doha Metro users can switch between the Red Line, Gold Line and Green line at Musheireb Station.

Operation timings for the Green Line will be the same as those for the Red and Gold Lines – Saturday through Thursday from 06:00 to 23:00. Friday will be from 14:00 to 23:00

To cover a wider range and serve more neighborhoods and areas adjacent to the stations, new routes will be allocated to the Metro Link service, which is a shuttle bus service to transport passengers from neighboring areas to and from the metro stations.

The Legtaifiya station on the Red Line will open next year.

Also Read:

A guide to Doha Metro  – Find Stations opened, How much it cost to Travel in Doha Metro, How to Buy Travel Cards, What is Doha Metro Hours of Operations, Other Facilities available at Doha Metro and Much more…

Color Run 2020 returns to Doha next year | 25 January 2020

Color Run 2020 returns to Doha next year | 25 January 2020

DOHA: The internationally popular Color Run, which since its inception since 2012 has been experienced by over 6 million people worldwide in 35 plus countries and has donated a staggering $5 million to charity globally is all set to return to locally to Doha in 2020.

The Color Run is a unique event that celebrates health, happiness, and individuality by empowering and encouraging participants of all ages and abilities to focus on their health and well-being.

The event has become a globally famous phenomenon and last year’s Doha Color Run 2019 witnessed thousands of participants.

The 2020 Color Run also popularly known as the ‘Happiest 5k on the Planet’ has a new theme “Love Tour” and the event comes with the grooviest packs for participants, encouraging everyone to let their love shine and take part in one of the most memorable family activities of the year.

This year’s Color Run presented by Sahtak Awalan: Your Health First – the flagship public health campaign of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) will return to Qatar National Convention Centre on Saturday, 25 January 2020 with a much bigger expected turnout.

As in previous years, The Color Run 2020 runners will wear white and be doused from head to toe in brightly different colored powders at 1km intervals as they make their way around the 5km course, before celebrating completion with friends and family at the

Once the 5k is over, the fun continues at the Finish Festival, a larger-than-life celebration with music, photo ops, activity booths, vendors and more massive color throws creating millions of vivid color combinations.

The excitement and hype witnessed towards this wonderful event demonstrate once again Qatar’s vision to empower and inspire all to lead healthier and happier lifestyles. And people from every part of the community in Qatar have shown their enthusiasm for living a healthy lifestyle by taking part in The Color Run.

For more details and purchasing tickets please visit

Image Credit:

Qatar National Day | Indian cultural performances and parades planned for National Day celebrations

Qatar National Day | Indian cultural performances and parades planned for National Day celebrations

DOHA: As in previous years Qatar will celebrate the National Day on 18th December to commemorate the unification of this beloved nation which happened on the same day in 1878.

The Qatar National Day organizing committee has announced this year’s slogan as “Al Maali Kaydah” meaning the path to excellence is difficult.

Cultural performances and traditional shows by Indian, Sri Lankan Nepalese and Bangladeshi community teams and musical performances by well-known Asian orchestras have been planned at the Barwa Al Baraha – Football Ground as part of the Qatar National Day celebrations.

Additionally, a cultural parade by company teams showcasing Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Bangladeshi community will take place at the Asian Accommodation City – Near Karqa HQ in the Industrial area.

A special event for students and parents will be held at the Lusail Sports Complex where cultural parade and performances by 7100 students from 18 Asian schools will delight audiences between 3 pm to 9 pm. Entry is for students and their parents and families only.

In Al Khor, cultural performance, traditional and musical shows by Indian, Bangladeshi and Nepalese nationals by the Al Khor community teams will entertain people at the Al Khor – Barwa Workers Recreation Complex

A Cricket Tournament by Indian and other Asian community teams will take place on the Asian Town – Cricket Stadium.

All events will take place on 18th December between 3 pm – 9 pm except for the cricket match which will start at 10 am.

These events are apart from the usual National Day celebrations that take place every year including the Corniche parade, Dar Al Shaai tent shows fireworks and a host of other informative and entertaining programmes at various venues spread right across the nation.

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Indian film stars to play maiden T20 cricket match in Qatar next year

Indian film stars to play maiden T20 cricket match in Qatar next year

Sports Correspondent

DOHA: Crescent Cricket Club (CCC) – an India-based sports club is all set to bring in film stars’ for the first time in Qatar for a T20 cricket match to be held in March next year.

This was announced recently at a press conference in the Raddison Blu Hotel attended by well-known Indian film actors Tushar Kapoor, Rajpal Yadav, Rahul Dev, Bala Kumar, Vivek Gopan, John Kappallil, and Rajeev Pillai along with well-known Indian community members and representatives of different Doha-based cricket organizations.

Shakeel Shafi, chairman of CCC, said that the club has been organising Indian film celebrities’ cricket matches since 2011 for different charity causes but this is going to the club’s first match at an international venue.

However, the intention of holding a cricket match here was not for charity purposes but to entertain the residents of Qatar. Shafi explained, “Through these matches, we have been trying to promote the diversity of India as actors from different states come together and play cricket. We are excited about organising a star-studded cricket match, first time outside India and it is going to be in Qatar.

“Our research has shown that Doha is the right place to organise a cricket match due to the great importance Qatar is giving to sports. Once we get permission, we will announce the date and venue for the match.”

“Our team from North India will be captained by ace actor Suniel Shetty and the other team will be headed by actor Bala Kumar from Kerala,” he added.

Shafi thanked the sponsors and local cricket associations for their support and added that people from all corners of India live and work in Qatar and they will get a unique opportunity to watch their favorite film celebrities play cricket.

Addressing the press conference, popular Bollywood actor Tushar Kapoor said: “The match is sure to attract more spectators promoting both sport and culture. I am very excited to go be part of a match where film stars from all over India will be represented. We are here to figure out how the rules and regulations will work out for the planned match and I urge Doha residents to make the event a great success. This is my first trip to Qatar and hope to come back soon.”

Expressing his views, character actor Rajpal said: “This is my second visit to Qatar and I have received same kind of love and affection here, as before. I have been a part of all CCC cricket matches since 2011. It has actually brought different film industries in India together and has been instrumental in promoting south Indian movies in north of the country. I am thankful to the organisers for inviting me here. Qatar seems like home to me and I hope the celebrity match in March is going to be a big success.”

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Mughal-e-Azam is all set to stage its Doha premiere at Al Mayassa Theatre, Qatar National Convention Centre, with three shows from the 19th to the 21st of this month.

IWA Qatar | Mrs. IWA contest gets pretty good response

IWA Qatar | Mrs. IWA contest gets pretty good response

DOHA: The Indian Women’s Association is holding a Mrs. IWA QATAR contest on 7th December 2019 at Hotel Grand Hyatt @ 6 pm.

The contest submission entries which closed on 31st October witnessed an overwhelming response from married Indian ladies. This is the second year of the contest and according to the organisers the response has been really commendable.

The Mrs. IWA 2019 is an event tagged lined “Come, Conquer, Cherish” and aims to provide a platform to all married Indian women to showcase their talents in different fields.

Contestants are being specially groomed by Mrs. Preeti Trivedi (Mrs. India UK 2018 – Community Queen, London).

Tickets for the event available on Q-tickets ( Tickets are priced QR 105, including service charges for members and QR 183.75, including service charges. The age restriction is above 18 years and bachelors are strictly not allowed.

Radio Olive and Radio Suno are supporters of the event.

IWA has sent out a message to all Indian ladies – “Dress up in your best evening gowns. Buckle your stilettos and get ready for our signature event – MRS IWA 2019” requests all its Indian lady followers to attend this glittering memorable event!

Read More on:

Qatar Balloon Festival 2019 | This exciting historic first-ever unique fest being held from 7 to 18 December will probably be etched in the memories of Qatari citizens, residents, and visitors for a long time to come.




Mughal-e-Azam all set to stage Doha premiere

Mughal-e-Azam all set to stage Doha premiere

An award-winning Broadway-style musical not to be missed!

George Julius Williams | Consulting Editor

After enthralling packed audiences across India and abroad the world-class theatrical production from India, Mughal-e-Azam is all set to stage its Doha premiere at Al Mayassa Theatre, Qatar National Convention Centre, with three shows from the 19th to the 21st of this month.

The stage production is based on and a homage to the late Indian maestro director K. Asif’s epic classic of the same name that was produced by Shapoorji Pallonji in 1960.

And more than five decades later, the renowned Indian playwright Feroz Abbas Khan, brings this classic film to stage in a stunning musical homage to K. Asif’s classic film whose dialogues, music and song are part of the cultural memories of many generations. The musical, which has been proclaimed as the first Broadway-style musical, swept the Broadway World Awards last year, bagging awards in 7 categories, including Best Play and Best Director has set a new benchmark for Indian theatre.

According to the organisers, Mughal-e-Azam follows the story of the Mughal Prince Salim who openly declares his love for a lowly court dancer named Anarkali and leads a rebellion against his mighty father, Emperor Akbar, who disapproves of their relationship.

The Mughal-e-Azam musical is a fitting tribute to K Asif’s timeless epic with its stunning scale, design, and overall splendor production qualities.

Renowned Indian playwright Khan, known for plays like Mahatma vs Gandhi, Tumhari Amrita, Saalgirah and Dinner with Friends has weaved together a rich, colourful tapestry of ideas that touches upon class wars and love in the face of rebellion. It pits an uncompromising father at loggerheads with his beloved Son, in a painful personal dilemma.

The musical is mostly faithful to the Asif classic, complete with lavish sets, exotic costumes, flowery verses, soulful music and brilliantly choreographed dance sequences, all of which are sublimely orchestrated by Khan to create an immersive theatre experience.

The stage production has all the dramatic elements you desire from a brilliant musical – thunderous dialogues, melodious songs, and mesmerizing dance sequences.

The extravagant sets of the Mughal era feature a cast and crew of more than 350 people, over 200 lights illuminating the stage and 550 costumes designed by the internationally well-known Manish Malhotra, along with breath-taking choreography by Mayuri Upadhyay rendering the Broadway-style production a musical not to be missed.

Live singing by the lead actors adds yet another dynamic dimension to the historic tale.

Director Khan said, “I had always wanted to share this great piece of cinema as a theatrical experience. The epic love story of Prince Salim and Anarkali has been told beautifully on celluloid. I have attempted to create a contemporary version of it for live audiences. I am humbled by the appreciation from audiences in India and several international cities. I am excited as we present Mughal-e-Azam in Doha for the first time.”

Dr. Tejinder Singh, CEO and managing director of Q-Tickets Qatar, noted: “Mughal-e-Azam, the grand musical, has earned standing ovations from big crowds and numerous accolades on the international stage. Q-Tickets is proud to bring not just one, not even two, but three Mughal-e-Azam shows for the very first time in Qatar. So, not only the Indian community but also the entire Qatar audience will get to enjoy this biggest show that everyone is talking about.”

Deepesh Salgia, creative and strategic vision, Mughal-e-Azam, added: “The phenomenal success of the show recently in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Muscat has confirmed the pan-Asian appeal of the show. With over 170 houseful performances, the show’s popularity is growing with every new venue. Moreover, as Mughal-e-Azam speaks the language of love, like all immortal love stories, we are sure it will be loved by Doha audiences in equal measure.”

The event is brought by Q-Tickets in association with Qatar National Tourism Council.

For more information, contact the Q-Tickets call centre at 44069090 or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Pls note: The three categories Diamond, Gold, Silver will have free seating and no reservations. It will be on first come first serve basis.

Image Credit: gulftimes

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Qatar Balloon Festival 2019 | QBF 2019– 33 colourful hot air balloons, in various shapes and different sizes, from all across the globe will dot the skies over Aspire Park on 7th December to set the stage for the country’s first 12-day Qatar Balloon Festival 2019.

FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles in India, private and commercial, from December 1, 2019.

World Goan Day celebrations in Qatar – The Doha based Goan Welfare Association (GWA), completed 20 years of its existence in Qatar recently

World Goan Day celebrations highlight kids future | Goan Welfare Association (GWA)

World Goan Day celebrations highlight kids future | Goan Welfare Association (GWA)

George Julius Williams | Consulting Editor

DOHA: The Doha based Goan Welfare Association (GWA), completed 20 years of its existence in Qatar recently with its only first and long-time President Simon D’Silva proving once again his uncanny organising skills and his sincere dedication to preserve Goan culture.

Deputy Chief Minister of Goa, Chandrakant Babu Kavlekar attended the historic event as the chief guest, in place of Dr Pramod Sawant, Chief Minister of Goa who unfortunately could not attend due to pressing local commitments. Instead, in a video message displayed on the giant screen put up at the venue, the CM regretted his inability to attend but sent his congratulatory good wishes and his earnest desire to attend a future event.

His Excellency P Kumaran, Indian Ambassador to Qatar and Ricardo Pracana, Portuguese Ambassador to Qatar were honoured special guests at the glittering gala gathering. P Kumaran, stated his willingness to extend assistance at all times while lauding the efforts of GWA President Simon D’Silva in bringing Goans together through the association’s various events. Ricardo Pracana extended his good wishes for Goans while recalling the close bond between Portugal and its former colony.

GWA members presented President Simon D’Silva with a memento and gift for his sincere dedication in ably leading the association for the past 20 years.

An array of distinguished delegates from across the globe including key Goan personalities from the Gulf region attended the event.

The Goan night was also attended by members of different communities and entertained by the band R99, specially flown in from Goa with 19-year-old girl-drummer Rushz Baracho proving to be the highlight of the musical group.

Several talented local and regional Goan artistes performed entertaining songs and dances throughout the fun-filled family evening.

However, the celebrations were centred around the chosen theme ‘Amchim Bhurgim, Amcho Fuddar’ (Our children, our future).

A number of students were felicitated on the occasion for their outstanding achievements in sports, music and academics namely – Elliot Joseph Monteiro, Stacy Lobo, Cassandra Sonia Noronha, Abeygale Seema Fernandes, Lenora Malaika Fernandes, Jenisha Barretto, Nausheen Panali, Joann Fay D’Souza, Jade Assumption D’Souza, Chynara Joycelyn Rodrigues, Tresica Stella Fernandes and Jade Diane Correia Pires.

The World Goa Day celebration is probably the only memorable event that remind Goans of their unique identity and provide them with an opportunity to revive and sustain the state’s roots, art, culture, traditions, language, music and costumes.

The Goan day was instituted to mark the anniversary of August 20, 1992 –  a momentous day in Goa’s history when the Indian Parliament included Konkani in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution, duly recognising  it as an official language in India after a long wait.

The Goa Day was ably supported by Royal Regis, 360 Realtors, Digital Print Centre, Integral Food Services, Fabindia, Karma Group India, Badr Al Samaa Medical Centre, Andyman Equipment & Services, LTC International Qatar, Mercure Grand Doha, Iplanet Computers, Al Harib Security Systems, Radio Olive, Gulf Times, Daijiworld, Prudent Media and Unique Sound and Lighting Services.

Community members who supported the event were Milton Pimenta, Allan De Souza, Joe Cotta, Melwyn Barretto, Agnello A.S. Fernandes, Edson Fernandes, Cajetan Rodrigues, Carmo Santos, Lester Morgan Fernandes, Arjun Sanguelkar and Malik Panali.

The memorable evening which was held at the Al-Masa Ballroom of Holiday Inn on 22nd November and organised in collaboration with Orbit Events and Marketing was telecast live on YouTube.

Image Credit:

Qatar and India cultures meet in pictorial encounter | Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture

Qatar and India cultures meet in pictorial encounter | Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture

Qatar and India cultures meet in pictorial encounter | Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture

Qatar India 2019 Year of Culture

* Qatar Museums inaugurates “Where Cultures Meet: A Photographic Encounter Between Qatar and India” exhibition

George Julius Williams | Consulting Editor

Doha: A photographic encounter between Qatar and India entitled “Where Cultures Meet” was inaugurated yesterday evening by Qatar Museums (QM) at Gallery Number 18 of Katara Cultural Village, as part of its annual Year of Culture programme.

Under the leadership of Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Chairperson of QM, the initiative – “Year of Culture” was developed as an annual international cultural exchange programme designed to deepen understanding between different nations and their people.

Previous years of culture include Qatar-Japan 2012, Qatar-UK 2013, Qatar-Brazil 2014, Qatar-Turkey 2015, Qatar-China 2016, Qatar-Germany 2017 and Qatar-Russia 2018.

As part of Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture – two talented Qatari photographers Hamad Al Shamari and Aisha Al Sadah travelled to the Himalayan Region of Ladakh, India for two weeks to snap brilliant pictures. While two Qatar based Indian lensmen Ajeesh Puthiyadath and Salim Abdulla were selected from a locally held photographic competition to participate in the exhibition.

The aim of the pictorial display of images of Qatar and India under one roof was to create an inspiring portfolio to help foster mutual understanding and cultural relations between the two countries.

According to a QM press release – The exhibition presents common themes like architecture, landscape, portraits and street life both in Ladakh – a remote land tucked in the valleys among barren mountains and where communities known for their tolerant and generous manner live in peace – and in Doha, a bustling metropolis made up of century-old markets and futuristic buildings that line its waterfront.

Aisha Al Attiya, Head of Years of Culture at QM said: “The annual photography exhibition is an important milestone in the Years of Culture programme. It promotes an appreciation for our similarities with partner countries and celebrates the differences between our two cultures and perspectives. We hope that the trip to Ladakh will continue to inspire Hamad Al Shamari and Aisha Al Sadah for many years to come.”

Present at the opening of the exhibition was India’s ambassador to Qatar His Excellency, P. Kumaran along with embassy officials and other distinguished community members.

Speaking at the opening, P. Kumaran thanked Qatar Museums, Katara Village, Years of Culture department and all other stakeholders who helped making the event a success.

The Indian ambassador congratulated the four photographers for their stunning images and stated it was commendable that the two Qatari photographers had braved extreme cold weather conditions in the high altitude of Ladakh and still managed to take brilliant pictures.

QatarIndians spoke to the four photographers –

Hamad Al Shamari, one of the Qatari photographers said he was completely mesmerized by the breath-taking scenery of Ladakh and inspite of hazardous weather conditions was eager to go back to the region for another amazing experience.

Qatari photographer Aisha Al Sadah, the only lady in the foursome said although she did have breathing problems at the high altitudes of Ladakh, it was indeed an awesome experience to witness first hand the colourful culture, traditions and language of the predominately Buddhist region.

Indian lensman Ajeesh Puthiyadath who has been in Qatar for three years said he was fortunate that as an IT professional his straight shift work timings provided him the liberty to go around taking pictures after office hours. Most of his photographs are centered around Souq Wafiq where the light is just right to take spectacular pictures, especially on Friday mornings.

The other artist Salim Abdulla is a professional photographer and a passionate award-winning painter. Although, he concentrates now more on clicking pictures than on painting –  his uncanny eye for world of colour and images stands him in good stead while using his camera.

The exhibition entry is free and opened for the public until the 31st of December 2019.

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Qatar Balloon Festival 2019 – Historic first-ever unique Qatar Balloon Festival fest being held from 7 to 18 December at Aspire Park on 7th December will probably be etched in the memories of Qatari citizens, residents, and visitors for a long time to come.

Qatar Balloon Festival 2019 | Expectations rise high for historic Qatar Balloon Festival

Qatar Balloon Festival 2019 | Expectations rise high for historic Qatar Balloon Festival

DOHA: 33 colourful hot air balloons, in various shapes and different sizes, from all across the globe will dot the skies over Aspire Park on 7th December to set the stage for the country’s first 12-day Qatar Balloon Festival 2019.

This exciting historic first-ever unique fest being held from 7 to 18 December will probably be etched in the memories of Qatari citizens, residents, and visitors for a long time to come.

Apart from the fascinating sight of hot air balloons filling the skies, a number of food trucks, fairground rides, and many more exciting and entertaining events will line up around the Aspire Park for the fun-filled fest.

And according to the organisers these exciting balloon happenings will make the Qatar Balloon Festival most enjoyable for one and all:

Sunrise Balloon Flights

The surreal scene of a group of Hot Air Balloons taking off and coloring the skies at sunrise is unforgettable. The balloons will start taking off and fly with the wind for a period of 45 to 60 minutes and then land where the retrieve vehicles will collect the balloons, the crew, and any guests onboard. Read more…

Tethered Balloon Fights

At designated parks a group of balloons tied to the ground by ropes will be providing a balloon ride experience to the public. The scene of the colorful balloons will be a fantastic opportunity to take photographs of the memorable experience.

Late Afternoon Balloon Flights

A couple of hours before sunset (weather permitting) the Hot Air Balloons will be lifting off together to colour the skies. This would be a perfect opportunity to those that can’t get up with the crack of dawn to see the mass balloons flying in the air.


As the darkness sets, the Hot Air Balloons are inflated and start to light up in tune with the music. This spectacular scene must be experienced on sight as no video or description will do it justice! Read more…

The Qatar Balloon Festival 2019 has been scheduled to coincide with other major events in the country as part of the 18th December Qatar National Day celebrations.

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Traffic officials in regular cars are conducting patrols on all streets to monitor traffic and penalise drivers who do not respect traffic rules

Doha Gold Metro Line, which runs from East to West across Doha, includes the following 11 stations

FASTag to become mandatory for all vehicles from 1st December 2019 | ‘Digital India’ initiative

FASTag to become mandatory for all vehicles from 1st December 2019

So you better get your tag … real fast!

Special Correspondent

Delhi: In line with the Indian government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, Nitin Gadkari, the Road Transport and Highways Minister, has announced that FASTags will become mandatory for all vehicles, private and commercial, from December 1, 2019.

As per media reports, vehicles without FASTags will have to now pay up to twice the normal rate at toll-gates across the country.

With only one week left for the rule to be implemented, it is important that vehicle owners/drivers get their Fastag asap if they do not have it already.

According to official sources, the new Fastag initiative has a three-fold purpose. Firstly, it is being put into effect to further bolster digital payments throughout the country, secondly to act as an effective means to decongest highways and finally to promote transparency through digital payments.

Fastag is surely on the fast track to help make ‘Digital India’ a reality but what real benefits does this new initiative aimed towards cashless toll payments have in for the end-user? Or will it take a toll on the already overburdened highway user?

There are currently issued by 22 certified banks through various channels such as Point-of-Sale (POS) at National Highway toll plazas and bank branches.

The Economic Times further explains the nitty-gritty of Digital India’s Fastag initiative:

What is FASTag and how does it work?

FASTag is a passive device, affixed to a vehicle’s windscreen, which works on the principle of radio frequency identification (RFID) and enables cashless toll payments without requiring the vehicle to stop and wait in a queue.

When a motorist drives a vehicle equipped with the RFID tag through a dedicated-toll plaza lane, a FASTag reader automatically detects the tagged vehicle and charges the appropriate amount from a linked account, while the vehicle is still in motion.

The motorist gets intimated about the toll deducted via SMS on his registered mobile number.

Where can the FASTag be used?

FASTags were introduced over four years ago and until now, their usage has been optional. At the moment, they can be used at over 500 toll plazas across the country, including all national highways as well as some state highways.

However, beginning December 1, FASTags will become mandatory for all four-wheeler passenger vehicles and all commercial vehicles including buses, trucks, tractors and construction machinery at all national highways. This means that all lanes at national highway toll plazas will only allow electronic toll collection through FASTag, with just one lane reserved for collection through cash.

Almost 90 percent toll plazas are ready with FASTag infrastructure and only some new toll plazas will face teething issues.

What are the benefits of FASTag?

The implementation of FASTag can help alleviate numerous problems. Since coming to a complete halt at the turnpike for cash transactions is not required, major bottlenecks on highways are avoided.

Commuters save time that they otherwise would have wasted waiting in long queues. The expeditious passage of vehicles through toll plazas also helps in reducing fuel consumption and ultimately curbing air pollution.

Moreover, the whole system promotes digital payments, reduces cash handling and increases transparency.

As an added incentive, motorists paying toll through FASTag at any national highway are promised a 2.5 percent cashback till March 31, 2020.

How can a FASTag be acquired?

In the run-up to the December 1 deadline, new passenger vehicles nowadays are already equipped with FASTags.

Existing vehicle owners can purchase the RFID tags from more than 20 NETC authorised member banks (the complete list of which is available here).

Additionally, they are also retailed through point-of-sale (POS) locations at select toll plazas, the NPCI website, Amazon website and the official MyFASTag app on the Google Play Store.

The price of a FASTag is fixed at Rs 100, but the threshold balance to be loaded in the FASTag account will differ as per the issuer’s transaction rules.

To further facilitate the adoption of the new technology, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been directed to issue free FASTags till December 1.

Free FASTags will be available at all points of sale of the NHAI and they will also be made available at other places having a high potential of sales.

Consequently, the security deposit for each of the tags issued from designated outlets, until November end, will be borne by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Some of the documents required for obtaining and activating a FASTag include the vehicle’s registration certificate and the owner’s photograph and other identity proofs.

Moreover, a FASTag is vehicle specific and is linked to the car’s registration. As such, once assigned to a vehicle, it cannot be transferred to another vehicle. The tag has a validity of 5 years.

How can a FASTag be recharged?

A FASTag can either be linked to a prepaid account or to the customer’s savings/current account. The former requires the tag to be topped up as per the owner’s usage. This can be done through any UPI-enabled smartphone app and also through the MyFASTag app. Additionally, users have the choice of recharging their accounts from the issuer bank’s website using debit cards, credit cards, and net banking.

The NETC digital platform has already proved to be quite promising over the past four years.

In September this year, an average of 9.7 lakh transactions were processed daily through FASTags across the country.

Since the programme began, over 56 crore FASTag payments amounting to Rs 13,449 crore had been processed till the end of September 2019.

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