The authorities of the Nagarjunasagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve, which spans across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and the NHAI’s subsidiary, Indian Highways Management Company, signed an agreement aimed at streamlining the entry process for vehicles into the forest area. According to a statement from the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) will enable the implementation of a FASTag-based payment system at forest entry points.
Significance of this development:
- The initiative is intended to facilitate the collection of the Ecosystem Management Coordination (EMC) fee via FASTag at various entrance points of the Tiger reserve, providing a seamless and efficient entry process for vehicles.
- The FASTag system utilizes RFID technology to facilitate automatic toll payments at toll plazas.
- FASTag is mandatory for all four-wheelers and heavier vehicles across India.
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has stated that implementing FASTag-based payments at forest entry points will help visitors avoid queues and delays.
- This partnership between the Indian Highways Management Company Limited (IHMC) of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and the forest department aims to promote sustainable tourism and protect natural resources by reducing vehicular emissions at forest entry points.