Tourist taxis remained off the road in Goa for the second day today, but the traditional yellow and black cab operators withdrew from the strike declared illegal by the state government. The strike, called on the issue of installing speed governors in taxis, left passengers stranded at various places in the state, where peak tourist season is on. The yellow and black taxis, which had joined the strike yesterday, resumed their services today. However, private bus operators have threatened to join the strike. “A batch of ten taxis was sent from the airport with passengers to ensure they are not attacked on the way by the agitators. We can’t keep the passengers stranded at the airport,” a senior member of the Yellow and Black Taxi Operators’ Association told PTI.
“Not a single taxi is operating in the state. We have been protesting peacefully. The strike will continue,” said Vinayak Nanoskar, General Secretary, the North Goa Tourist Taxi Association. Due to the strike, around 18,000-odd taxis are off the road in the coastal state. The yellow and black taxis number around 350. A number of passengers were stranded at various places, including the airport and railway stations. To minimise the impact of the strike, state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation Ltd has deployed additional buses to ferry air and train passengers.
A leading association of private buses has threatened to join the stir from Monday in support of the agitating taxi operators. “We are fully with the taxi operators in their strike. We will also keep our buses off the road from Monday to support them,” said All Goa Bus Owners Association General Secretary Sudip Tamankar. He claimed the bus operators were also facing similar problem with the Goa government insisting that speed governors be installed in their vehicles. The tourist taxi operators are seeking exemption from the government from the Supreme Court order of installing speed governors.
However, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has declined to accept the demand. Installation of speed governors was part the Supreme Court’s directives, he said yesterday. The BJP-led government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) and declared the strike as illegal. The Act includes a list of “essential services” and gives police the right to arrest, without a warrant, anybody violating its provisions. However, no action has been taken against the agitating taxi operators since yesterday.