The Maharashtra government has clarified that the rule that taxi permit applicants should have a ‘working knowledge’ of Marathi exists for over 25 years. The state says it is implementing an old policy adopted even by the previous government.
A senior minister said there was nothing wrong in what transport minister Diwakar Raote announced last week.
“As per the statistics available with us, of the 7,843 permits allotted by the Congress-led government in the past few years, 5,303 (about 70%) were given to non-Marathi applicants, most of whom were originally from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. 2,540 permits were allotted to Marathi applicants.
The allotment was done as per a law of 1988, which states that the ‘working knowledge’ of the local language is necessary,” he said. The minister said that 70% of the applications, too, had come from the non-Marathi applicants.
The minister said that there was nothing wrong in expecting the taxi drivers to have learnt at least basic Marathi to deal with their customers. “The applicants who acquired the permits during Congress-NCP rule had the basic knowledge which qualified them for the permits. We are continuing the old norms while issuing new permits. The rule about knowing the local language persists in all other states too,” he added.
Meanwhile, a BJP delegation led by the party’s general secretary Amarjeet Singh, met chief minister Devendra Fadnavis on Monday, demanding that the rule about knowing basic Marathi should not be enforced while issuing the permits.
The CM reportedly explained the facts to them, and told them that any relaxation in the rules was not possible.