The state transport department has issued a notification to the Regional Transport Office (RTO),Pune,to ensure that from March 1 all newly registered autorickshaws get electronic meters. Old autorickshaws have been given a May 1 deadline to convert. However,to oppose the move,autorickshaw panchayats in the city have decided to go on a token strike on Saturday.
Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Arun Yeola said,”We have received orders to withhold fitness passing certificates after May 1 for those old autorickshaws that don’t have electronic meters. As of now there are over 40,000 such rickshaws plying in the city.”
Nitin Pawar,general secretary,Autorickshaw Union Joint Action Committee,Maharashtra,said,”We have legal and scientific reasons for opposing the state government’s decision. In April 2008,a committee was appointed by the legislative council with the state transport minister as the chairperson. But the present decision has been taken without the committee’s recommendations. So our working president Sharad Rao will file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) at the Bombay High Court.”
Pawar added that scientific objections to the electronic meter include possibilities of the meter going out of order with constant exposure to dust and rain water as unlike taxis,rickshaws are open from all sides. “We have already proved to the technical committee that electronic meters are not tamper-proof. For a city like Pune that has meter calibrations per kilometre,an electronic meter will be completely unsuitable,” explained Pawar,adding that the strike will be observed from noon to 5 pm on Saturday.
The mandatory measures to be kept in mind at the time of installation of new electronic meters will be to check whether meter shows tampered message if pulse per revolution is increased or decreased or if pulse is increased if a magnet is added to the transducer,said a notification from the state transport department to the meter manufacturers. The regulations are prescribed by the autorickshaw electronic meter technical committee and certified by MIT College of Engineering,Pune.