Staff Reporter

Only 20 per cent have electronic meters calibrated to new tariff

CHENNAI: More than 24,000 autorickshaws fitted with electronic meters are plying illegally in the city, having missed the Government-assigned March 11 deadline to recalibrate their meters to the new tariff.

Since Monday, Transport authorities have detained 136 of the non-compliant vehicles in surprise checks and impounded them at the MTC Yard on Pallavan Salai.

Joint Transport Commissioner K. Yogarajan on Friday said regional transport officials were carrying out checks. Totally 3,322 vehicles were checked. Check reports were issued to 419 vehicles and 136 of them have been impounded. Several drivers have also been charged 186 of them for not engaging their meters; and another 105 for demanding excess fare. There were also 13 vehicles that plied without permits and another two vehicles in violation of other district permits.

According to Transport Department statistics, just around 20 per cent of the vehicles fitted with electronic meters have recalibrated to the new tariff Rs.14 for the first 2 kilometres and Rs.6 for every subsequent km. (See box for important deadlines.)

The deadline for recalibrating the meters was announced in the same Government Order that brought into effect the new tariff regime from the Republic Day. But most auto drivers had fallen back on the farthest deadline July 25 for converting mechanical meters into electronic meters as an `unofficial' extended deadline to run their vehicles without flagging the meters.

According to statistics available with the Transport Department, there are 45,441 autorickshaws in the city. Of these, 30,666 vehicles are fitted with electronic meters and the remaining 14,775 fitted with mechanical meters. The autos with electronic meters were given a 45-day deadline that expired March 11 to recalibrate their meters. So far only, 6,605 meters have been re-calibrated.

Likewise, there is slackness even among owners of vehicles with mechanical meters. Of the 14,775 vehicles fitted with mechanical meters, so far only 6,092 have been re-calibrated.