Just days after it promised stringent action against auto drivers operating without electronic meters from May 1, the Regional Transport Office (RTO) seems to have taken a U-turn and deferred its drive by another eight days. The reason given by Regional Transport Officer Arun Yeola for this change of plan was manpower shortage.
“Our plan hasn’t changed, but has been postponed due to shortage of staff. Our people are busy with other important works. I promise that action will be taken, and errant drivers willbe penalised Rs 2,000 after eight days. Also, this gives autoowners additional eight days to replace mechanical meters with the electronic ones.”
He said the RTO, with the help of traffic police department, would be forming seven teams to check the meters in the city. “Each team will consist of eight people of which two will be from the RTO,” Yeola said.
Traffic police DCP Vishwas Pandhare confirmed the new development. “The drive against auto rickshaws running without electronic meters will most probably commence from May 10. We receive complaints on a daily basis from commuters about auto drivers overcharging them. Electronic meters will be a better option for a rationalised tariff,” he said.
Baba Kamble of the Rickshaw Owners and Drivers Association said they had urged the RTO to extend the deadline for fitting electronic meters by a month, till May 31.
“Eight days are not enough. The RTO must start the drive from June 1 instead of May 10. We are still firm on our demand of extending the deadline by a month,” he said.
Rickshaw Panchayat and Pune Rickshaw Federation also made similar demands.