PANAJI: The strike by tourist taxis in Goa ended today after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar assured taxi operators that they would get more time to install speed governors in their vehicles.
The strike, which started on January 19, was called to oppose a state government directive that all taxis be fitted with speed governors by February 28, failing which the transport department would not issue fitness certificates to them.
Mr Parrikar told reporters that the taxi operators will now be given more time as there were not enough speed governors available in Goa.
The chief minister said that the state government would be filing an intervention petition in the Supreme Court which is currently hearing a petition on the implementation of speed governors.
“We will plead before the Supreme Court that there is no need to install speed governors in taxis in the state,” Chief Minister Parrikar said, adding that a speed limit of 80 km per hour brought about by these governors did not make sense in Goa.
“From our point of view, the speed governor is not required for tourist taxis in Goa as by installing them nothing is going to change in the state. I also feel that taxis are not part of accidents much,” he claimed.
The peace between agitating taxi operators and the state government was brokered by BJP leader and Deputy Speaker Michael Lobo who led a delegation this afternoon to meet the chief minister.
While the strike had held the tourism industry to ransom, Mr Parrikar today devised various measures to ensure there was no repeat of such a situation.
He said that state-run Goa Tourism Development Corporation had been asked to man the taxi counter at the airport and open multiple windows so that the fliers were not inconvenienced.
The chief minister also asked for an increase in the number of airport taxis and demanded that they accept digital payments as well as cards.
He said that state government was contemplating the possibility of introducing airport taxi services and the GTDC had been asked to invite bids to design a mobile application for taxis on the lines of aggregator services like Ola and Uber.
COMMENTSMr Parrikar informed that digital meters would be installed in taxis within the next 4 to 5 months after taking the trade into confidence.
Cracking the whip against private vehicles operating illegally as taxis, he said such vehicles would be either impounded or would have their licences cancelled.