From March 1, all new autos will be fitted with electronic meters.
For existing autos, the e-meters will be made compulsory when these vehicles go to the regional transport Offices (RTOs) for their routine annual fitness certification from April 1. What this means is that existing autos will start using e-meters in phases.
Electronic meters display an error message on the screen if they are rigged, so this move is expected to substantially reduce rigging of meters, and hence fleecing of commuters.
The RTOs have already started the groundwork for the e-meter initiative, like meeting manufacturers to discuss production of the required number of meters, setting up repair centres, and meeting autorickshaw unions.
The state transport office had called a meeting of all RTOs on Saturday, during which the installation of e-meters was discussed.
"We have taken these steps so that we can start installation of e-meters in new autos from March 1. We have already received verbal directives regarding installation of digital meters, and a Government Regulation (GR) is expected any time this week," said a senior official from Wadala RTO, who did not wish to be named as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
Haji Arfat Shaikh, president of MNS Vahatuk Sena told HT: "We haven't received any intimation of the meeting with transport officials about e-meters. However, we are ready to install digital meters provided they are approved by the RTO and offered at a standard rate and quality.
In September 2011, the Mumbai chapter of India Against Corruption had conducted a drive against errant autorickshaw drivers.
Preeti Sharma from the IAC said: "During our campaign, the highest number of complaints were those about excess fare and tampered meters. E-meters are a must and they should be made compulsory across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region."