The Mumbai Taximen Association (MTA) has welcomed the state government’s decision to block eviction and sale of plots housing fuel station in south and central Mumbai.
The MTA filed a petition before the Bombay High Court seeking protection for fuel filling stations — especially those dispensing compressed natural gas (CNG).
Prem Singh, MTA president told Hindustan Times that at present all taxis in the city — about 55,000 — run on CNG. The taxis were converted to CNG on high court orders. “Initially there were only a handful of CNG refuelling stations in the city and the taxis would have to stand in long queues for eight to 10 hours,” he added.
Singh said that gradually the number of CNG stations in the city increased and at present there were 121 fuel stations offering CNG to various vehicles along with taxis. Even today, taxi drivers have to wait in queues occasionally.
Singh added that while the existing number of CNG stations was sufficient, if landlords shut down fuelling stations, it would run havoc with operation of taxis in the city.
The association was running a petrol pump at Dadar but had to close it down recently after the landowner obtained an eviction order as soon as their lease lapsed.
“If the state had not intervened, it would have created chaos. We would have been forced to keep taxis idle for want of CNG, which would have also affected the passengers,” he said.
Shamsher Singh, an MTA member, said that closure of CNG stations would primarily affect taxi drivers, as unlike petrol or diesel CNG was not available at every filling station.