Autorickshaws without electronic meters will now be considered illegal in the city. Arun Yeola,Regional Transport Officer,Pune,said,From May 1,we will not accept any autorickshaw for annual inspection unless electronic meters are installed on them. This means they will not get their annual fitness certificates,without which they will effectively be illegal. The whole idea behind electronic meters is to make the system more transparent and commuter friendly,especially in cities like Pune where rickshaws are the backbone of the transport system.
Between March 1 and April 30,over 400 new autorickshaw meters with electronic meters were registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO),Pune.
Nitin Pawar,convenor,Rickshaw Panchayat,Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad,said,Though the government has ordered to switch to electronic meters,enough meters are not available in the market at present. There are only 12 electronic meter manufacturing companies in the country which is a very small number to cater to over 50,000 autorickshaws in Pune alone. We have also sought subsidies from the state government,but we havent got any response. It is difficult for us to afford electronic meters now.
He said the cost of an electronic meter is approximately Rs 3,500 and if the cost of the battery is included,the price goes up to around Rs 7,000.
Baba Shinde,president,Pune City Autorickshaw Federation,said,After the Supreme Court verdict,there is no question of rickshaws not installing electronic meters. But the genuine problems of rickshaw owners are not being considered by the policy makers,including the high price of the meters and its unavailability in the market.