No e-meter seal in 20% of 1,030 autos in Mumbai, finds RTO drive
HT had highlighted how several cab e-meters are being re-calibrated without a road test, which ensures time, distance and fare are properly calibrated in e-metersmumbai Updated: Feb 22, 2018 09:56 IST
Flying squads from the city’s Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) found seals of electronic meters (e-meters) missing or broken in around 20% of the 1,030 autorickshaws checked as part of a drive that began on February 18. HT has been reporting about alleged tampering of e-meters in autorickshaws and taxis since February 16.
Following a series of stories, the authorities have now initiated action. The department has asked the officers to file police cases against autorickshaw and taxi permit holders if the e-meters are found to be rigged.
Meanwhile, the Tardeo RTO resumed road tests for e-meters on its designated 2-km testing track between Bhakti Park Monorail station to Anik Depot on Sewri-Chembur Road on Wednesday.
Three cabs were checked, of which one was found with a missing e-meter seal.
On Tuesday, HT had highlighted how several cab e-meters are being re-calibrated without a road test, which ensures time, distance and fare are properly calibrated in e-meters.
While going through the recalibration process, RTOs use polycarbonate seals on e-meters that have a unique number, besides attaching another seal on the tyre, which generates the pulse for the machines.
According to officials, the flying squads from the transport commissioner office and four RTOs checked 1,030 autorickshaws and 82 taxis until Wednesday evening.
The seal was found to be broken in 220 autorickshaws, but not in taxis.₹
Surprisingly, while the transport commissioner office squad found about 145 cases of e-meter seals broken, followed by 85 cases detected by flying squads from the Andheri and Borivali RTOs, the squads of Wadala and Tardeo RTO did not find a single case. All squads began their drive before Monday, barring Tardeo RTO, which started it on Tuesday.
The issue of e-meter tampering came under focus after a civil engineer from Jogeshwari unearthed the alleged tampering in an auto after the driver charged him an exorbitant fare last week. The rickshaw had a hidden button near the steering handle that was allegedly used to speed up the e-meter.
For the first time in the recent past, the department lodged a police complaint against the auto driver.
A senior official, requesting anonymity, said they are going to be strict with all permit holders. “The flying squads are depositing vehicle documents, which permit holders will get back only after they go through the entire recalibration process,” he said.
If the e-seal is found missing, permit holders face a fine of Rs1,250, the official said. They are mulling suspending permits, but there is a lack of space to park the suspended vehicles.
First Published: Feb 22, 2018 09:56 IST