Goa must react with the same sense of outrage they had when tourists creating public nuisance in Goa, were called “scums of the earth”, when Goan taxi drivers continue to behave as if they are a law onto themselves. They are beyond boorish. They are openly, brazenly and even mockingly, threatening the State, saying they will “paralyse” Goa, if the KTC starts its app-based taxi service.
While no one should have been fooled, their true colours are brazenly on display. They will clearly refuse to install speed governors, even when they are available and have now warned that if the government introduces app-based taxis they will “not allow” the government to do so and nor will they allow any other taxis from doing business at the airport. It is clear that these absolutely errant and politically backed taxi owners, merely used the speed governors issue to do a trial run for the larger project of holding Goa to absolute ransom with a mixture of show of strength and muscle flexing.
The big ask is why doesn’t a single MLA, speak out against a group who have absolute disdain for the law and for systems on this issue. And there is no one to check their sheer audacity of dictating terms to the State and its tourists. Are we living in a banana republic with the taxi lobby running amuck? And their hypocrisy is so clear. They prevailed upon the government to extend the deadline for the installation of speed governors since they weren’t available and within weeks, they announce that a lawyer will be hired to move the Apex court against speed governors.
Moreover, inspite of many stakeholders and the government drilling into them that their employment will not be affected since app based taxi services will depend on the local fleet of taxis entirely, they have refused to even address this, since their main ground of opposition would collapse. They tried again doing the same at the latest meeting of the North Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (NGTTOA).
Let them be clearly told that the “my way or the highway” approach doesn’t work. For each taxi owner who thinks in this manner there are ten tourists and an equal number of locals, who are ready to back app- based taxi services. Goa’s taxi drivers have lost touch with a changing digitally empowered Goa. Goans when they travel the world and experience efficient local transport, see and realise what efficient transport systems mean to the people. Here it is all about what it means to taxi owners, with an abysmal track record of even thinking of the tourists who feeds them.
And there’s one more point which is a slight take off on the “people who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones saying. People who own or drive Jaguars shouldn’t quite be speaking about the loss of livelihood of his group.
MLAs and vocal ministers are expected to treat vile threats given publicly (on Friday at the NGTTOA meeting) by taxi owners seriously and make a strong statement rejecting this kind of behaviour.
The bottom line is this. While protests are acceptable in democracy, the manner in which decisions taken by the government to help tourists by guaranteeing Goan livelihoods (and backed by people), are being blocked by taxi men; is a sign of absolute anarchy.