It’s been more than six months since transport authorities made it mandatory for all auto rickshaws to convert to e-meters before April 2013, but not even half the autos plying on city roads are fitted with e-meters.
Now, with less than six months to go, only 35,817 autos had been fitted with e-meters as of October 31, while more than 72,800 autos are yet to do so.
From April 2012, authorities made it mandatory for all autorickshaws to have e-meters installed at the time they go for their annual fitness test, to get their certificates. Sources in the Regional Transport Office (RTO) said they hope conversion will pick up pace. “Drivers were reluctant to install e-meters initially, but now they understand there is no way out. The number of autos approaching us for e-meter installation will grow rapidly in the coming months,” said an RTO official.
Areas falling under the jurisdiction of the Thane RTO, which include Thane, Kalyan, Vasai, Navi Mumbai — have fared even worse. Of the more than 1.3 lakh registered autos in region, only 18,981 have been fitted with e-meters.
“Most auto drivers want to get e-meters, but there are not enough meters and insufficient infrastructure, forcing them to recalibrate their existing mechanical meters,” said Shashank Rao, leader of the Mumbai Autorickshawmen’s union.
Authorities and commuters have been in favour of conversion to e-meters as they are considered more reliable and not as easy to tamper with. There are 16 approved e-meter manufactures in the state.