The state transport department is set to issue a government notification making e-meters mandatory in auto rickshaws by January end, but has not yet set a deadline for conversion of all auto meters. Nor is the government restructuring the minimum distance from 1.6km to 1km, which has been a long-standing demand of consumer activists.
“The government notification to make electronic meters compulsory will be issued by the end of January. The conversion of mechanical to e-meters will take place in phases across the state — the date-wise details will be mentioned in the notification,” state transport secretary Dr Shailesh Kumar Sharma told Hindustan Times. For the first three months, compulsory e-meters will be enforced for new autos, and after that, for both the old and new ones.
“The enforcement of e-meters may start in the Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Transport Authority jurisdiction, and then in other regions,” said Dr Sharma.
Consumer activists have raised objections over the enforcement of e-meters without restructuring of the minimum distance. “The government should decide on a specific time limit to transform all mechanical meters into electronic ones. Otherwise, like in cabs, the new autos will have e-meters but the old ones will continue to have mechanical meters,” said Shirish Desphande, chairperson of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
“We will also seek an appointment with the authorities to discuss the restructuring of distance and tariff as this is right time to do so,” added Desphande. AV Shenoy, member of Mumbai Vikas Samiti, an NGO, said: “Considering the rampant fleecing, installation of e-meters should be priority; restructuring of distance and tariff can follow.”