Apart from electronic meters, Mumbaiites are now demanding that the state government restructure the metering system and fare for autos.
The Mumbai Grahak Panchayat (MGP), an umbrella consumer group that represents more than 30,000 families in the city, has decided to approach chief minister Prithviraj Chavan after the winter session to discuss the matter. The group plans to move court if the government does not modify the fare structure.
Transport activists want the minimum flag-down distance to be reduced. Currently, the meter first starts falling at 1.6 km and commuters want this to be brought down to 1 km for which the minimum fare should be corrected to Rs 7 instead of the current Rs 11. The meter changes every 200 metres now, and activists are demanding that this be changed to every 100 metres.
“The installation of electronic meters should be integrated with the minimum 1-km distance flag-down as now consumers are paying for 1.6 km even if they travel for half a km,” said Shirish Deshpande, MGP chairman.
Deshpande said his consumer group would file a public interest litigation (PIL) if its plea is not acted upon. “A PIL is the last resort because we will give sufficient time and opportunity to the government,” he said.
Activists are also keen that the government set a deadline for the replacement of mechanical meters into electronic ones.
In its December 20 edition, HT had reported how the regional transport authorities had delayed submitting feasibility reports without which the state claims it cannot take a final call on electronic meters.
“The government is postponing the installation of e-meters by asking for such reports. They should just issue directions,” said Jagdeep Desai, member of the Unified Mumbai Metropolitan Transport Authority.