Relief For Bengaluru Commuters As NICE Expressway Will Shift To FASTag Beginning Second Week Of November – Swarajya

In a big relief to commuters of Bengaluru, all toll booths on Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE) Road (popularly know as NICE road) will migrate to NHAI’s automated FASTag system, The New Indian Express reported.
NICE will enable payment through FASTag beginning the second week of November.
According to the report, the officials from NICE Limited are in the process of finalising the details and address technical glitches before FASTag will officially introducing it for all vehicles using the road.
While FASTag is mandatory to travel on network of national highways (NHs) across the country , vehicle users continue to pay cash to use NICE Road. All 722 toll plazas on NHs and another 196 toll plazas on state highways collect user fee only through FASTags.
The delay in implementing FASTTag system was due to a pending legal dispute between NICE and government of Karnataka. NICE was accused of violating the contractual obligation by building a tar road instead of concrete road, The matter was pending before Karnataka high court and has been resolved
Privately-owned by a consortium controlled by controversial entrepreneur Ashok Kheny, NICE expressway was originally envisaged as a 6-lane private toll road connecting Bengaluru and Mysuru. Besides reducing the travel time between the two cities from over three hours to 75 minutes. project also envisioned construction of townships around the expressway. The project was originally awarded to Kheny-led consortium in 1997 on a 30-year BOOT basis with real estate and toll fees made available to private developer as the revenue source.
The project however was mired in several controversies especially with former Prime Minister Deve Gowda spearheading the opposition to the land acquisition related to it. Gowda frequently alleged that NICE and Ashok Kheny, in collusion with the then ruling Congress party, converted the expressway in to real estate enterprise.
Frequent acrimonious feuds between Kheny and Deve Gowda even led to Kheny filing a defamation suit against the former PM. He even took a plunged in to electoral politics by floating an independent party and eventually joined Congress.
Due to the project becoming a bitter political battleground, the original scope of the project was rapidly diluted.
Currently NICE road serves as 52 km ‘peripheral’ road. It starts from Electronic City and ends at Tumkur Road withaccess points at Electronic City, Bannerghatta Road, Kanakapura Road, Mysore Road, Magadi Road and Tumkur Road. It is still viewed as critical part of Bengaluru road network as it helps to ease congestion in the core city roads.
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