The transport authorities are planning a crackdown on taxi drivers, who have obtained their licences without any valid residential proof or have furnished fake addresses to procure one.
Transport officials say a majority of taxi drivers, who run 42,000 taxis in the city do not have required documents to confirm the residential address mentioned while obtaining licences.
The transport authorities had launched a new scheme in April 2011 to replace metal badges that are given to taxi drivers with identity cards. To obtain identity cards, submitting fresh proof of residence was mandatory. The problem began as many identity cards sent to them by post were returned undelivered as the addresses were either incomplete or the recipients were not staying at the addresses mentioned by them. "We have made it mandatory for everyone, including taxi drivers to submit valid residence proof. We will be taking action against errant drivers. Their driving licences would not be renewed or a new one would not be issued unless a complete address proof is submitted," said V More, transport commissioner.
The taxi drivers, however, complain that they don't receive licences as they stay in shanties and huts and do not have a permanent address. They don't have any valid and legal documents as most of them have migrated from their native towns and villages. The officials from regional transport offices (RTOs) claim that the number of taxi drivers who haven't submitted valid residence proof is on the rise.
"A majority of taxi drivers have submitted affidavits for procuring driving licences," said a RTO official.
Recently, the Mumbai Taximen's Union threatened to go on strike by joining the truckers' indefinite strike, without any intimation. Sources in the taxi union said that by issuing such threats, they want to put pressure on the government to soften its stand on the issue.
"We are meeting the transport department. We will not go on strike until the meeting is over. It is true that over 90% of drivers don't have these documents," said AL Quadros, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen's Union.