The issue of installing the digital meters on the tourist taxis has been pending for the quite some time now. Various attempts were made by the government had failed due to the stiff resistance from the tourist taxi operators union in Goa. But finally the TTAG (Travel and Tourism Association of Goa) along with the GCCI (Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries) and the Tourism stakeholders of Goa have filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking the direction to the government to implement its decision of making the digital meter compulsory for the tourist taxis in Goa.
The sources have confirmed the news of filing of the writ petition by TTAG, GCCI and other stakeholders of the tourism industry of Goa. This shows that everybody connected to the tourism sector of Goa wants the digital meter installed on the tourist taxis. It may be recalled that, In June 2015, the transport department had issued a notification making it mandatory for the 15,000-odd tourist taxis in Goa to install GPS-enabled digital meters. The decision, however, was subsequently kept on hold due to an agitation by tourist taxi operators.
The petitioner said that the implementation of the rules has been deferred from time to time through notifications, whereas on November 11, 2016, the government issued a notification keeping in abeyance the implementation of Amended Rule 140. Goa Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules, 2015 requires motor cabs to be fitted with fare meters. “Every motor cab plying in the State of Goa shall be fitted with a fare meter of the digital type with printer and Global positing system (GPS) tracking device approved by the State Transport Authority from the date of notification.” The rules were notified on December 4, 2015.
The petitioners submitted that TTAG members had approached the government requesting it to implement the rules in the interest of tourism in Goa. The petitioners said that keeping the said amended Rule 140 in abeyance is not only illegal and without authority of the law, but it will also perpetuate the damage already caused to industries in Goa by its delayed enforcement. This action of the government, petitioners pointed out “was wholly illegal, arbitrary, unjustified, unreasonable, bad in law, perverse and unconstitutional as the same is in direct contravention of Article 14 of the Constitution of India.”
According to the petitioners, that comprise of businessmen and traders from Goa feel that their business have got affected due to the non-implementation of the amended Rule 140 which is resulting in the visitors to Goa, whether tourists or traders, find it difficult to commute unless they use motor cabs/taxis operated in an unprofessional manner and charge exorbitant fees.
On the other side the tourist taxi operators unions are against the implementation of the digital meters in their taxis and there is a big lobby of the tourist taxi operators in the state which is influencing the political masters of Goa, said the sources. The rude behavior of the taxi operators on the Goa airport is not the hidden fact anymore but the state government has done nothing to stop the same. The tourist coming to the state are becoming the target of the rude taxi operators and exorbitant rates charged by them. The new initiative taken by the TTAG and GCI may help in changing the existing scenario and that may result in increasing the tourist inflow back into the state.