Thursday, January 31, 2008

Authorities to rein in meter manipulators

Authorities to rein in meter manipulators
Nina C George
The authorities are bucking up to check meter tampering by auto drivers now that the fares have been hiked. Metrolife spoke to the police and the road transport authorities regarding the stringent measures they are planning to implement.

Now that the road transport authorities and police have given into the demands of autorickshaw drivers for a hike in minimum auto fare from the existing Rs 12 to Rs 14, they are also taking enough measures to make sure that with the hiked fares the tampering of meters is also considerably reduced.

Autorickshaw drivers have been demanding the fare hike following increase in per litre of auto LPG price from Rs 33.58 to Rs 35.58. The drivers’ demand that the fare rate be hiked to Rs 7 per km has also been approved.

With the hike, the burden on the passenger will now become more odious if the blatant tampering with the auto meters continue. The authorities are, however, leaving no stone unturned to prevent the tampering of meters.

Official sources in the Legal Metrology said that most of the mechanical meters are tampered with to make them tick faster. To avoid the tampering, digital fare meters were introduced two years ago. But stiff resistance from auto drivers didn't see many autos switch over to digital meters. Now the regional transport department is contemplating making digital meters mandatory for all autos. The authorities plan to do it in a phased manner so that by 2010 all autos in the City have digital meters.

“More than 40 per cent of the autos in the City have digital meters. We would be able to get all the autos to go digital only by 2010. The 8,000 to 10,000 new autos hitting the City's roads every year come equipped with digital meters,” explains M Lakshmi Narayana, commissioner of the RTO.

Official sources with the RTO say that the tampering is very subtle. “Most autorickshaw drivers either manipulate the meters themselves or get it done with the meter repairer. The process is simple. There are two fixed assembly gears — one beneath the autodriver's seat and the other at the rear of the auto. The reading of each of these gears is manipulated inversely, that is, if one reads more the other reads less. Soon, the meter reading starts jumping. “Tampering of meters is much less with the digital meters. Cancellation of licences will be adopted only for repeated offenders," he says.

Taking note of the increasing instances of meter tampering, the police department too has written to the government demanding that the Motor Vehicle Act be amended to include compulsory electronic meter for all autos.

"Cancellation of the vehicle's permit and suspension of the driver's licence are just some of our proposals to keep a tab on meter tampering. We will implement this as soon as it is approved," says DCP East Seemanth
Kumar Singh.

Another interesting development is the hike in the LPG prices every month in the year 2007. The LPG auto gas price was Rs 25.85 in January 2007 and by January 2008 the amount rose to Rs 35.38. The same is likely to rise to Rs 40 soon. There has been Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 hike every month. This is also cited as one of the primary reasons for the demand in fare hike.

The public becomes victim of the row between the law enforcing authority and the auto drivers.
While some don't mind paying extra bucks because their only mode of transport is the auto, others are clearly unhappy with the fare hike.


At Wednesday, April 30, 2008 at 7:15:00 AM GMT+5:30, Blogger Snvprasad said...



Post a Comment

<< Home