When the deadline for re-calibrating autorickshaw meters to display the revised tariff ended on Tuesday, less than 40 per cent of the autos had fallen in line. The State government accepted the auto union’s request and offered a couple of days grace time to enable compliance by the remaining 60 per cent.
In all, 71,470 autos ply in the city, of which 61,663 collected their rate cards from the respective Regional Transport Offices (RTOs). However, 26,431 autos alone have re-calibrated their meters and secured approval from RTOs so far.
Auto unions attributed the delay to fewer re-calibration centres and lack of financial resources. Balu, district secretary, South Chennai of the CITU Auto Workers Union, told the media that there were only 39 centres in Chinthadripet, Parrys, Egmore and T Nagar, which could perform re-calibration. “They are overloaded with work as each centre gets about 200 meters for servicing each day. Identifying the fault itself takes about two days. Besides, an autorickshaw union in the city has moved the Madras High Court seeking extension of the meter deadline. The court sought the government’s reply by October 21,” he said.
A new meter costs about Rs 3,000. Autorickshaw drivers can’t muster so much resources within a short span of time, he argued.
According to a Transport department official, re-calibration centres would function on Bakrid to cope with the rush. “We ‘ve allowed a grace time of couple of days. After that, compliance will be monitored,” he said.