Taxi strike in Goa may hit tourists badly

The call for taxi strike in Goa given by taxi unions on Monday is likely to badly hit the tourism industry. With the taxi unions planning to go off the road to register their protest over various issues, tourists will find it difficult to commute, industry sources said.

The taxi unions have planned to go on strike from 6 am to 6 pm on February 24 to press for their demands. The taxi unions are angry with the government for not fulfilling the assurances given by the government and that latest provocation for them is the entry of Olacabs into Goa.

Olacabs announced their launch in Goa with around 50 cabs earlier this month.On the other hand, the director of transport Arun Desai has said they have not even applied for permission to run their operations. Some taxi operators have alleged that the Mumbai-based company has made its entry only with the backing of the bigwigs of the ruling party. “Why is the government shying away from taking action against them when they don’t have the permission to operate?”, a union leader asked.

North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association president Vasudev Arlekar said that the government has failed to implement the subsidy scheme for old taxis and curb private operators from running taxi business.

A member of the association said to beat the high unemployment rate in Goa, many locals have taken up self-employment by joining taxi business but the government seems to be supporting outside lobbies against the local interests.

While North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association president said on Sunday that many other taxi unions are going to support the strike all along the coastal belt from Canacona to Pernem, it is not clear as to whether the strike would be total or not. Sources said that in a damage control exercise, some political party officials are in touch with coastal MLAs of the ruling dispensation to see that the strike is not a huge success.

The police are gearing up for the strike and sources said that patrolling would be intensified along coastal belt to prevent law and order situation.

The strike call comes in the backdrop of clashes between the taxi union members and Russians who have entered taxi business clandestinely.

Tall promises are made by the government when meetings are called to resolve issue but they remain only on paper, Arlekar said.

, TNN | Feb 23, 2014, 05.12PM IST

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