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Govt gears up to deal with taxi strike on January 19

Panjim: The State government will be making alternative arrangements for tourists on January 19, the day when tourist taxis have called for a strike.Tourism Minister Manohar (Babu) Azgaonkar said the government has to deal strictly with taxi operators and will make alternative transportation arrangements so that tourists will not suffer.“We will ask KTCL buses to ply from the airport, railway stations and other important places on that particular day,” Azgaonkar said.He said the dent on Goa’s tourism has to be recovered by acting in a stringent way against people who are affecting the trade. “Even motorcycle pilots in Goa have a good reputation but not these. Our name is spoilt due to such activities. Government has to act strictly now. As per central rules, taxi meters and speed governors are a must,” the Minister said.
Transport Director Nikhil Desai said there is no harassment caused to taxi operators but almost 700 people have been booked in the last month during a special drive against illegal operation of private vehicles for commercial purposes.“Speed governors are a must as per central directives, we are the only State that has extended the period by three months. By the end of February speed governors have to be installed,” he said.Desai refuted allegations made by taxi unions and said that the demands made are non-satisfactory. He termed the strike as unilateral. “I have placed the report of strike with the government. A further call will be taken,” he said.In the last two days, the taxi union has held a series of meetings with members across the State and decided to go off the road on January 19 protesting the installation of speed governors, harassment by RTO.Taxi unions held a major meeting at Benaulim in South Goa on Sunday and in Calangute on Monday that was attended by most operators. “We have resolved and are very firm on the resolution that the entire taxi service will be off the road on January 19,” taxi union leader from North Goa, Vinayak Nanoskar, said. He added that the Police and RTO are harassing legal taxi operators, while illegal operations are shielded by them. [H]

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