Faced with the poor turnout of auto rickshaws for fare meter recalibration, the Transport Department on Monday extended the deadline for recalibration to December 18.

In its order issued two months ago, the State government increased minimum fares in auto rickshaws from Rs.14 to Rs.16. For each subsequent kilometre travelled, the fare was hiked from Rs.8 to Rs.9.

Besides, the government had also set a deadline of November 19 for recalibrating the digital fare meters in all auto rickshaws with revised fares. There are about 77,000 auto rickshaws in the city, of these only 15,000 have recalibrated their meters with revised fares.

Auto unions, Legal Metrology and Transport departments are indulging in a blame-game for poor turnout at recalibration centres.

While, auto unions allege that there were not many recalibration centres and shortage of fare metre spares in the market, Legal Metrology and Transport department authorities claim auto drivers were delaying the recalibration process.

There are close to 77,000 vehicles and only two recalibration centres are being operated. Even on Monday, many auto drivers were made to wait till evening at Singareni Colony centre as there were no LED seals to complete the recalibration process, said A. Sathi Reddy, a member of Auto Driver Unions Joint Action Committee.

On the other hand, authorities claimed that four recalibration centres were being operated and two more centres had been launched at Necklace road and Regional Transport Authority office in Nagole on Monday.

Each centre has the capacity to meet the requirements of about 1000 auto rickshaws per day but only 200 to 300 auto rickshaws turn up at each centre everyday. This is eventually delaying the recalibration process, explained a senior officer from Legal Metrology Department.

Transport department authorities said stringent action would be initiated against auto drivers, who fail to recalibrate fare meters within the deadline.

Four special teams have been formed to identify auto rickshaws that are yet to recalibrate their meters. Vehicles would be seized, if they continue to operate without recalibrating the meters after December 18, said G. Panduranga Rao, Joint Transport Commissioner.