GPS meters for autos and taxis in Mumbai? They can be rigged toomumbai Updated: Feb 22, 2018 10:01 IST
On Wednesday, Hindustan Times highlighted how e-meters, touted as tamper-proof by the government, can be rigged easily without opening the e-meters and their seals.(HT)
Even as the transport department reconsiders its earlier proposal of getting electronic meters with GPS (global positioning system) in autorickshaws and taxis to curb tampering, meter repairers and dealers claim these meters too can be rigged easily.
On Wednesday, Hindustan Times highlighted how e-meters, touted as tamper-proof by the government, can be rigged easily without opening the e-meters and their seals.
Six years ago, the Maharashtra government made e-meters mandatory, replacing the earlier mechanical meters on the grounds that the latter can be easily rigged. For the past few years, the department has been considering getting GPS-meters, especially after the Nirbhaya case, said a senior RTO official.
“GPS-meters can be recalibrated in a minute, unlike e-meters that take time. It has several other advantages such as allowing tracking speed and location, booking through mobile app and panic button for emergency,” said the official.
As the Centre made tracking of public transport vehicles mandatory, several e-meter manufactures launched GPS-meters for taxis and autos. Despite the advantages, the current GPS-meters are not tamper-proof.
A meter repairer said most GPS-meters work on the same mechanism as e-meters. “The GPS meter can be rigged by giving an extra pulse by connecting it to a sensor,” said the repairer.
Sam Godha, honorary head of automobile department of Saboo Sidhik Engineering College at Byculla, said, “If any manufacturer or technical institute claims they have tamper-proof GPS meters, they should certify it.”
An executive associate with a GPS-based device marketing firm, however, said tampering on GPS meters can be cross-checked. “Any alteration can be cross-checked at any time,” he said, adding that instead of replacing e-meters, the government can even think about installing a vehicle-tracking system in them.
The GPS-meters comes with a GPRS chipset similar to SIM cards in mobile phones. Currently, these meters cost over Rs10,000. There will be a monthly charge that can be vary depending on the number of users for GPS service and various facilities provided through it, said the executive.