With only 20 days left to complete the meter recalibration procedure for the 41,000 taxis and 1.08 lakh autorickshaws in the city, transport commissioner VN More rebuked auto and taxi drivers for not showing any urgency to complete the process.
To abide by the November 24 deadline, authorities are working in two shifts. This includes Sundays and bank holidays. However, authorities said that few drivers turn up on public holidays or weekends.
“We have provided everything possible to speed up the process — machinery, manpower and infrastructure. But drivers should cooperate by bringing their vehicles for recalibration,” said More. “We haven’t thought of taking action against them for not showing up, but it will be done as and when the time and situation demands.”
The drivers’ unions, however, demanded greater clarity from the department on the whole process. “There is a lack of information about authorised repair centers,” said DM Gosavi, secretary, Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s Union. AL Quadros, general secretary of the Mumbai Taximen’s Union said inadequate manpower was leading to the delay and added that his union would seek an extension of the deadline.
But it wasn’t only drivers that provoked More’s ire. He also criticised consumer activists for not cooperating with the government.
“Some activists demanded tariff cards in Marathi, but when we prepared the bilingual tariff card, there was no response. Activists are creating a hue and cry about everything, but do not make any useful suggestions,” he said.
In response, Shirish Deshpande, chairman, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat said, “Why is the transport commissioner not addressing bigger issues? The tariff card does not display waiting charges, so drivers have been charging anything they please.”