The Regional Transport Authoritys (RTA) decision,making it compulsory for autorickshaws to calibrate meters within 45 days of the fare hike coming into effect,has not gone down well with auto driver unions. According to unions,given the huge number of autorickshaws in the city,meeting the deadline is impossible.
The RTA,which is headed by District Collector Vikas Deshmukh,on Saturday decided to implement a fare hike by increasing the minimum fare from Rs 11 per km to Rs 17 for 1.5 km. At the same time,the RTA also made it mandatory for rickshaw owners to calibrate meters before November 31,failing which they will have to face action.
Nitin Pawar,convenor of Rickshaw Panchayat,the largest union of autorickshaw drivers in the city and Pimpri-Chinchwad,said,We had conveyed our reservation on the fare hike and the compulsion of calibrated meters. There are over 45,000 rickshaws in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad and as per RTO,almost 95 per cent autos have installed e-meters. Also,the system of e-metres is new to all of us and hence it will take time to do calibration, said Pawar,adding if calibration is delayed owing to the lack of infrastructure,it would be wrong on part of RTO to penalise rickshaw owners. Rickshaw unions feel the expenses of calibration,which is
estimated at Rs 450 to 500,is unjustified.
Pawar alleged dealers are trying to mint money by taking the advantage of the situation.
We have seen the process of calibration and our estimate is that only Rs 100 to 150 should be charged for the job. We are planning to conduct demonstration on calibration so that dealers do not charge extra money, said Pawar. RTO Arun Yeola,who held a meeting with electronic meter manufacturers on Monday,said,I met the manufacturers and we came to a conclusion that the calibration can be carried out in the given time frame. He said the estimated cost for calibration per auto would be Rs 400 to 450.