Taxi owners to ‘block all traffic’ on April 11

The North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (NGTTOA) has opposed the introduction of shuttle buses by the Kadamba Transport Corporation (KTC) from Dabolim airport to Calangute as it would directly affect their business. They have demanded that the KTC stop this service immediately.

Taxi owners will organize a one-day strike on April 11 to press for their demands. The association’s vice-president Ravindra Vengurlekar said that they will be on the roads in the morning stopping all vehicular traffic across the state with the support of other taxi unions till 2pm, following which they will hold a rally at Azad Maidan from 3pm to 6pm which will culminate in a meeting.

“Every time the state government takes a decision which affects our taxi business, they do so without consulting us,” Vengurlekar said. “When they were thinking of starting this bus service from Dabolim airport to Calangute, they should have taken us into confidence and asked us what we thinkNow because they’ve started it, we’re holding a strike to demand that it be stopped. This way the government is creating confusion and trouble for tourists and everybody,” he added.

Vengurlekar said that though the bus service started on April 1, they learnt about it only on Tuesday through media reports. As reported earlier by TOI, Vengurlekar had said on March 19 that their main demands are stopping all illegal private rental cars and other vehicles and the suspension of the decision to make installation of meters compulsory.

A police official said that a meeting would be convened to decide on how to tackle the taxi strike. Sources said that the government may hold a meeting with taxi operators to resolve the issue amicably
“Today it may be only one bus from Dabolim to Calangute. Tomorrow they may start from Candolim, Sinquerim, Morjim and other places with hotels asking for pick-ups and drop-offs. We’re forced to oppose it,” Vengurlekar said.
Following the announcement of their strike, he said that the transport department has not implemented the scheme making installation of digital meters compulsory but they are still going ahead with their strike because of their other pending demands and to protest against the new KTC bus service. He said the strike would be peaceful, but they would be blocking all vehicular traffic. The authorities have also been informed of the strike, Vengurlekar said.