Digital meters raise hackles of auto drivers | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Digital meters raise hackles of auto drivers

In a move aimed at cracking down on overcharging autorickshaw drivers, the state transport department is to discuss the proposal to make electronic meters mandatory.

mumbai Updated: Nov 18, 2010 02:24 IST
Shashank Rao

In a move aimed at cracking down on overcharging autorickshaw drivers, the state transport department is to discuss the proposal to make electronic meters mandatory.

“The electronic meters for autos is a priority and we will be having a meeting next week,” said Dilip Jadhav, transport commissioner.

However, the autorickshaw unions have been opposing the proposal claiming that there is no proper planning to implement the project.

There are 1.04 lakh autorickshaws on Mumbai roads. The cost of an electronic meter is around Rs 3,000 while a mechanical meter costs Rs 1,500.

The transport department had recently sent a letter to the autorickshaw unions. The letter said the department was in the process of deciding the dealers and suppliers of electronic meters.

“We were informed that 40 such dealers would be appointed. When we checked, we found that there was no proper planning to install or repair these electronic meters,” said Sharad Rao, president, Mumbai Auto Rickshaw Union. “We will oppose this plan if it is implemented without proper planning.”

According to the Regional Transport Office, the auto unions are hesitant to shift from mechanical meters because, if properly calibrated, electronic meters cannot be tampered with.

However, sources in the autorickshaw union said they had demonstrated to the RTO officials how easily the meters could be manipulated. Hence, unless they had a foolproof device in place, they wouldn’t accept the new meter.

An RTO official requesting anonymity said: “Once we put a seal on the device, the electronic meter cannot be manipulated. If it is opened, the system will hang just like a computer and show an error message.”

Meanwhile, the taxi union is in the process of recalibrating the old mechanical meters, which would take them at least two more years.