HC directs that digital meters be fitted in tourist taxis from Aug 1; Exercise to be completed in 6 months
PANJIM: In a major victory to tourism stakeholders that had sought streamlining of taxi services, the High Court of Bombay at Goa has directed the State to commence fitting of digital meters in tourist taxis from August 1.
The order on Friday comes based on the submission from the Transport Department to start a 15-day trial from July 16 followed by implementation of digital taxi meters on August 1. The court has also asked the government complete the entire exercise within six months and stall issuing of fresh permits until the meters are fitted.
With this, digital meters will be mandatory for renewal of licences as well as obtaining new licences in the future.
Travel and Tourism Association of Goa (TTAG), supported by Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and other stakeholders, in February 2017, had moved the High Court alleging that the government was illegally and unconstitutionally keeping in abeyance implementation of the decision and sought directions for its immediate enforcement.
TTAG has termed the order as a big victory. “It’s a big victory for TTAG. We hope Chief Minister Pramod Sawant ensures implementation of the meters soon,” TTAG president Savio Messias told Herald.
In June 2015, Transport Department had issued a notification making it mandatory for tourist taxis to install GPS-enabled digital meters, but it was subsequently kept on hold, following a massive agitation by some taxi operators. It had also incorporated a provision of granting 50 per cent subsidy or Rs 5,000 towards its purchase.
During the hearing of the petition, the court, had also already expressed its disappointment at the delay pointing out that the government kept coming up with technical excuses.
Sources had said that Transport Department has already finalised an agency, after following the bidding process, to begin the implementation. It is learnt that the agency has 3,000-odd meters ready for installation, while more are being manufactured.
Goa Electronics Limited will develop a Central Tracking Record System to track data from vehicles fitted with the devices.