The Election Commission's strictness about candidates spending a limited amount ( Rs 11 lakh) on campaigning in the assembly poll has caused a slump in business for taxi operators.
According to taxi operators, earlier, hundreds of taxis were hired during the election period. As a result, these companies had good business. But now the condition is different. Candidates are not ordering taxis for canvassing.
Rajeev, proprietor of Comfort Tour and Travels, told HT, "We haven't received any order yet. The business is too low because of the EC's restriction on expenditure during elections. In the given amount, it seems candidates wouldn't be able to afford even a single taxi for campaigning."
Rakesh Bakshi, an office-bearer of taxi services association said, "We used to provide more than 200 taxis for campaigning to various parties during elections. However, this time, none of the parties has contacted us. It's certainly a jolt to our business."
A taxi is booked for a minimum Rs 1,500 a day that includes eight hours. The petrol is included. However, rates are higher for night bookings.
Meanwhile, taxi operators said that candidates were not allowed to hire more than five taxis during the entire campaigning schedule. Thus, with limited taxis, campaigning would be difficult.
Ramesh, a taxi driver said, "The candidates cannot hire more than five taxis during campaigning. Therefore, the demand for taxis in this election season has come down."
Rajkumar, Congress candidate from Rajpur (reserved) seat, agreed, "With limiting expenses, we will have to cut down on taxis. After all, it's a not a cheap affair."