Use of bouncers by the toll contractors to recover the money from taxi operators at the Goa Airport is creating big tussle between taxi owners and the AAI toll contractor.
Private taxi operators plying at the Goa airport to ferry the passengers, to and from the Dabolim International Airport has staged the protest over the appointment of bouncers by the new contractor to collect the toll charges of Rs. 100, beyond the five minutes waiting at the airport premises. The union of private taxi operators blocked the exit road of the newly built Airport Terminal demanding the immediate removal of bouncers from the toll gate.
According to the available information, the newly constructed extension of the International Terminal is creating lots of inconvenience to the taxi operators as well the passengers. There are no basic facilities such as toilets for the use of taxi operators in the premises and on top of that the applicable toll charges are creating more harassment. “We come here to pick up and drop the passengers while entering into the new terminal section the toll ticket is handed over to us which allows the free access for five minutes only. It is very difficult to manage the pickup or drop within just five minutes time. Sometimes the passengers are elderly people and they need the help for removing and shifting of the luggage. Many a times they are unable to tender exact change and it consumes more time and the moment we come to exit gate, even the delay of one minute we are asked to pay hundred rupees by toll keepers and if we go to explain them the situation the bouncers are put into the scene,” Explained one of the taxi driver.
“Tourism department is promoting the concept of “Atithi Devo Bhavo” and these toll contractors are harassing the guest who is entering the state by deploying the bouncers to extort the money,” said another taxi owner. To stop this malpractice, taxi operators decided to block the exit gate of the airport and demand the withdrawal of this unnecessary entry charges and removal of bouncers from the toll gate.
Looking at the huge mob and commotion created at the international terminal, the police force has been summoned by the Airport Authority. South Goa DySp Mohan Naik along with the police force entered the scene and managed to keep the situation under control. But controlling the angry mob was a very difficult task but the highly tolerant role played by Mr. Naik helped to bring the situation under control.
Congress MLA Alexo Reginaldo condemned the use of bouncers at the toll booth of Airport demanding the immediate removal of the same. “This is not Lucknow, it is Goa and we will not tolerate the bossing around of bouncers here,” Said Alexo.
The clash between the taxi operators and toll bouncers is going on for quite some time, but this situation aroused due to the high handedness shown by the bouncers.
The contractor in charge of Century Services Mr. Kumar has denied the allegations leveled by the taxi operators calling it baseless. He disclosed that based on the contract signed with the AAI (Airport Authority of India) taxi operators need pay Rs. 85 for hatchback cars and Rs. 100 for the SUV and Sadan beyond the allotted free time of five minutes. He also denied the charges of harassment of taxi operators and passengers by the bouncers claiming that, the bouncers are deputed for the safety of the passengers. He further agreed that “sometimes taxi operators do not pay the charges and to deal with such situation use bouncers is the only option.”
The Newly Constructed Airport Terminal at the Goa Airport is always been surrounded by the controversies. It has a lack of facilities and once even the False Ceiling of the Airport Collapsed injuring the passengers. With this kind of infrastructure, AAI wants to extract the money from the visitors is highly embarrassing. Not only the taxi operators but even the private car owners who go to the airport had been facing the similar situation. The government need to look into this matter seriously failing to which such situation will keep arising time to time. Please do leave your valuable comments and suggestions on this issue.
Source: Various Sources
Edited by Goa Prism News Desk