The government’s initiative to regularise autorickshaws in the city seems to have moved forward with the committee for GPS meters and printers in autorickshaws meeting for the first time in the city on Thursday.
According to sources, the specifications of the GPS and printers as well as the size of the control room were discussed during the meeting.
“Only after deciding the size of the control room and the manpower required can we decide where it can be set up. The control room is expected to be monitored jointly by the transport department and the traffic police,” said a source from the transport department.
The 13-member committee that was set up last month comprises officials of the transport commissionerate, Elcot (Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu) and finance department, traffic police officers, controller of weights and measures and professors from Anna University and IIT-Madras.
It will determine the technical specifications and standards with regard to the electronic digital fare meters, printers and GPS. “This is the first of the four to five meetings to be held in the coming days. The process of procurement, through tenders, is expected to be carried out by February, 2014,” said the source.
Meanwhile, transport department officials said many autorickshaw drivers had failed to get a seal from the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) on their recalibrated meters.
“A total of 42,000 meters have been recalibrated in the city and out of this 40,000 meters have been collected by the respective drivers. The drivers have to get two seals on the equipment — one by the mechanic and the other by RTO officials. This is to ensure that the new rates corresponding to the distance have been properly set in the meters. It will also prevent the drivers from tampering with the meters,” said the source.
Only 16,000 autos have got the seals from both the RTOs and mechanics. “The others have got them only from mechanics. Action will be taken against autorickshaws that do not have both seals,” said the source.
Commuters continue to complain that many autorickshaw drivers are overcharging them. “Though many of them have the rate cards, they exaggerate the number of kilometres to the destination. This happens mostly in front of shopping malls and outside the Chennai moffusil bus terminus,” said B. Akshay, a medical representative from Triplicane.
Transport department officials claimed that they have impounded nearly 1,500 autorickshaws for overcharging and plying without proper documents. “Residents have started lodging complaints. We are planning to conduct more awareness programmes with the help of consumer groups,” said the source.