Accusing the state government of trying to finish off the taxi industry in Mumbai, which is dominated by North Indians, the Mumbai Taximen’s Union has shot off urgent letters to North Indian chief ministers Nitish Kumar, Mayawati and Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mulayam Singh seeking support.
In the four-page letter to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar — a copy of which is with Hindustan Times — general secretary Anthony L Quadros said the Maharashtra government’s decision to phase out taxis older than 15 years was unfair and it will affect a huge number of cabbies.
Quadros alleged that the state was doing this and it wants a few private firms, that will run a fleet taxi scheme, to take over.
Since a majority of cabbies hail from the cow belt, Quadros has sought the help of North Indian heavyweight politicians to stop “this politicisation for the benefit of poor taxi drivers and their families”.
The regional transport office had also shot off a letter to the Centre seeking action on phasing out old taxis.
On July 22, the state decided to set up a committee to study the best way to deal with old cabs. “Vehicles which are more than 15 years old should be condemned,” Hasan Mushrif, minister of state for transport, had said in the legislative council. The principal secretary, transport, will head the committee and the report will be submitted in six months.
Quadros said the state did not have the right to initiate such an action.
“We will oppose any such action. The age of the vehicle is not crucial, but its condition is,” he said. “Technically, the government cannot touch us, as they do not have any right to implement such a ban. The issue of old vehicles falls under the jurisdiction of the Centre under the Central Motor Vehicles Act. The state cannot meddle in this.”