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Commuters face problem as taxis go off road
Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 30:
Published on 31 Aug. 2008 12:08 AM IST
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Hundreds of taxi commuters had to face difficulties here in Meghalaya as taxi drivers went off the road and converged themselves at State Central Library premises to protest against the government’s proposal to regulate plying of taxis in the city on rotation basis. Besides, the catcalls meeting of the taxi drivers also created chaos among the passengers who were pressing hard to get a cab for their destination which even led to the arrest of four taxi drivers. Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) Sacheng R Marak said the cab drivers were arrested for harassing passengers by declining to drop them to their destination even after booking the cab. Today’s protest from the taxi drivers came after the state government planned to regulate plying of taxis in the city through rotation on the basis of registration numbers. According to the plan, taxis would be asked to ply on a three-day rotation based upon the even number and odd number of their registration plates. There will be exception to the rule only on Sundays. For instance, a cab having a registration number ending in digit 4 would be allowed to ply for three days in a week while that with a registration number ending in digit 5 would be permitted to ply for the next three days. Cab drivers said the proposal would severely affect them economically and also expressed apprehension that their salary would be cut down by over 50 per cent. Further, taxi owners said the move could make them unable to clear bank loans for car purchase, besides road tax and car insurance. The proposed plan was taken up at a high-level convened by Deputy Chief Minister (Home) Hoping Stone Lyngdoh and Urban Affairs Minister Paul Lyngdoh to reduce traffic congestion in the city. “The government’s plan is not acceptable to us as it will deprive our basic fundamental rights of earning our livelihood,” said John Roy Lyngdoh, a local cab driver. Meanwhile, Shillong Region Taxi Owners’ and Drivers’ Association (SRTODA) general secretary A Warjri has asked the State Government to revoke the “unjustified and bias” proposal. “If the government pays no heed to our request for revoking the proposal we will have no other option but to resort to agitation on this issue,” Warjri said. Meanwhile, the taxi drivers who decided to go for a strike on Monday decided to call off their agitation realising the hardship they would cause to the general public. “We have decided to call off our proposed strike after we realize the hardship they would cause to the general public,” Lyngdoh said.

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