There are chances you won’t be able to escape Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his pet Swachh Bharat Abhiyan the next time you ride an auto.
The new GPS meters come with a screen flashing Modi’s picture while promoting his campaigns like Swachh Bharat and many autorickshaw drivers are lining up to get these meters installed in their vehicles.
While dealers insist there is nothing political about these meters, they do look like a ready reckoner for an average passenger in the poll-bound Capital. “I am not a BJP follower but these meters are quite attractive. Besides Modi’s pictures, they also flash good morning,” said Ratan Lal, a visibly pleased 40-year-old autorickshaw driver.
All autorickshaws in the city are required to install Global Positioning System-enabled meters. “We had installed these meters months ago but the screens have been made active only a few days ago. We’ve already installed around 2,200 such meters,” said Tarun Kohli, who runs Navrang Meters at Chitragupta Road, Paharganj.
“We chose to use Modi’s picture as his influence has been good for the country. We want people to know about the Swachh Bharat campaign. We will be able to keep changing the messages,” added Kohli.
The new meter with a screen costs nearly Rs 13,000. According to Kohli, at least 30,000 of the city’s 85,000 autorickshaws are still to get a GPS device installed.
“Its cost has, in fact, come down over the past few months due to change in policies. We are thinking of approaching the Election Commission about using these meters to send out public interest messages. Passengers can be urged to come out and vote,” said Rajendra Soni, general secretary, Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh.
Once fitted with a GPS device, an auto’s movement can be tracked at the Operation and Control Centre at Kashmere Gate managed by DIMTS. Drivers have to pay Rs 100 a month to DIMTS to keep the device running.