The state transport department’s plan of auctioning 4,000 taxi permits has been further delayed as the Bombay High Court, on Thursday, postponed the decision of approving the auction to a later date.
Government pleader DL Nalavade said, “The HC allowed us to go ahead with the auction, if we wish. However, everything depends on the court’s final decision.” Sources in the transport department said presently the court has passed an interim order asking them to go ahead with preparing for the auction, but in case the court gives a final decision to withdraw the auction, then they will have to cancel the plan entirely.
“The final decision can be taken anytime. So even if we auction the permits, we will have to withdraw them, if the court’s decision goes against us,” explained an official from the transport department.
Taxi unions have been opposing the auctioning of permits to fleet taxi companies and had therefore approached the high court. The transport department has been struggling with the auction of old taxi permits, some of which are over 20 years old, since August.
“None of the permit owners came to us for renewing it over the years. So we decided to auction it to fleet operators,” said an official from Regional Transport Office on condition of anonymity.