It is not just electronic weighing machines or price tags that are being tampered, there are instances where few fuel station owners and auto drivers indulged in adulteration of fuel and tampered fare meters in twin cities.

According to legal metrology authorities, a few fuel station owners mix naphtha, a chemical popularly called as white petrol to change fuel density. For instance, when one litre naphtha is mixed with nine litres of petrol, the quantity will be ten litres, but the quality of the fuel will be affected, they explain.

Every year the department collects 500 samples from different fuel outlets across the State and sends them to Forensic Science Laboratory to check the quality. If there is any adulteration, then action will be initiated accordingly against fuel station owners, says a senior official from the Metrology Department.

This apart, few fuel station owners collect extra money from consumers than the fuel dispensed. Recently, legal metrology authorities seized a fuel station at Vanasthalipuram for allegedly cheating a consumer. A worker at the station claimed to have dispensed 270 litres of diesel in a vehicle and issued a bill for the same. But the consumer got suspicious as the vehicle’s fuel tank capacity was 230 litres. Following a complaint from the consumer, the fuel station was seized, he explains.

Auto fare meters

The State government had made installation of digital fare meters in auto-rickshaws mandatory to curb meter tampering in the year 2007. However, a few auto drivers continue to take commuters for a ride literally by tampering the digital fare meters.

Generally a few auto drivers disturb one of the four seals in a fare meter. The drivers then connect a wire to the fare meter and keep a switch near their feet or by the side of the engine or the accelerator. They press the switch to increase the pace of the fare meter or place a magnet to increase meter pulse, explains an official from Legal Metrology Department.

The simple way to check if a digital fare meter was tampered is to see if there are any extra wires or switches in the vehicle. If a commuter finds something suspicious, he or she can note down the vehicle number and inform the department, he adds.

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