The high esteem that Goa was once held in as a premier tourist destination is slipping downwards rapidly. Through-the-roof room rates thanks to GST, bad infrastructure as far as transport is concerned, high expenses on food and drink, the garbage problem faced in the state, are just a few reasons for these. In fact, the state suffered miserably this past Christmas season thanks to most of the reasons mentioned. Even in the past, the taxi operators went on strike to protest the government allowing outside cab companies like Ola and Uber to set up shop.
And now again, the latest reports in the news state that North and South Goa taxi operators are going on strike from the 19th of January for an indefinite amount of time.
Taxi strikes in Goa
The newspapers state that the taxi operators in the state are protesting against the state government for failing to resolve all their issues that they have brought up time and time again.
At a meeting in Benaulim which included taxi owners and operators from North and South Goa, a decision was taken to go on strike. The reason being that all taxi operators in the state are fed up with the government’s lethargic attitude towards meeting their demands. The demands include a crackdown on illegal taxi and cancellation of the installation of speed governors.
The main issues at hand
The list of demands being made by taxi operators in the state is a long one.
Speaking to the media, South Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association president Roque Fernandes said that the government was only making promises and not fulfilling them. “There has been too much injustice done to us. The government is constantly promising us but not doing anything about it. RTO officers also unnecessarily harass us and don’t give our fitness certificate and other documents and instead take our licence and don’t pass our cars,” he said.
There was an opposition to the installation of speed governors or monitors in each vehicle. The president of the North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association, Vasudev Arlekar said that such a contraption would affect business very badly. “We are also against the speed governors because we won’t get any customers. There are customers who say they have to reach the airport in one hour from Calangute and if speed governors are installed in our vehicles, they will not work as per the customers’ requirements. That’s why we are opposing and from January 19 we all will stay off the roads.”
Demands not being heard or met
There have also been constant demands being made to the state authorities to crack down on the illegal taxis operating all over the state. According to the taxi operators, the government is not doing anything to stop it.
In the past, the South Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association even took up the issue with Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar with the assistance of Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao and Fatorda MLA Vijai Sardesai. The Association had also requested South Goa MP Narendra Sawaikar to intervene. However, nothing has been solved and therefore they feel that they are forced to protest and now go on strike once again.
Let’s hope that something is done in the next 10 days or so or Goa’s tourism will once again be crippled. We’ve seen what happened to private vehicles, the last time there was a taxi strike in Goa. Nothing good came of it back then as well.
Information credit – Navhind Times