After Mumbai and Nashik, city next in line for implementation of Chief Minister Chavan's plan to make electronic meters compulsory for rickshaws across state

Your everyday autorickshaw experience is set to change as the state government plans to introduce electronic meters in the city to prevent fleecing of passengers.Though the move is expected to face stiff resistance from transport unions, officials say the Chief Minister is firm on statewide implementation of the decision to shift to electronic meters.

Coming soon: An electronic meter is installed in an autorickshaw in
Mumbai. The state is firm on introducing electronic meters in the city
after Mumbai and Nashik as it says these are tamper-proof. File pic

No looking back now
After the state government decided to enforce electronic meters in Mumbai and Nashik in spite of strong opposition from auto unions, officials revealed that the city was next in line. The system will be implemented in the city in the coming months, said officials from the Regional Transport Office (RTO) and the Transport Department in Mumbai. A Mantralaya official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan was firm on his decision despite auto unions not supporting it. "After Mumbai, electronic meters are likely to be implemented statewide in a phased manner," said the official. Auto unions all over the state are not in favour of electronic meters, with some even claiming that the meters are more susceptible to tampering.

Talks with unions
Regional Transport Officer Arun Yeola said the new system would be introduced in the city after talking to union leaders. "Meetings will be held with union leaders in the coming months and a final decision will be taken," he said.

Automen not happy
Autorickshaw unions in the city have already made known their displeasure with the move to install electronic meters and are saying they will go to court if the new meters are enforced. Bapu Bhave, treasurer of the Pune City Autorickshaw Federation, alleged that the decision was taken only to ensure electronic companies mint money. "If it is finalised, the decision to install electronic meters will be autocratic and we will steadfastly challenge the government in court. They have not taken into consideration any of our objections and suggestions, which makes the decision questionable and undemocratic," he said.

Nana Kshirsagar, president of the Maharashtra Rickshaw Sena, said a delegation of transport union leaders had earlier demonstrated the unreliability of electronic meters to the state government. "Despite such clinching evidence, they are hell-bent on enforcing the rule, which simply defies logic. I would myself back the government during action against automen who tamper meters, but this new move will not change anything," Kshirsagar said.