Irked by the astronomical rise in the annual tax payable by tourist taxi operators’, the Federation Of Tourist Taxi Operators (FOTTO) warned they would go on an indefinite strike and stop tourist taxis from plying on the roads after a fortnight if the amount is not revised immediately.
At a gathering of FOTTO members on Thursday, the operators’ issued the strong ultimatum to the state government and the state transport department in particular. More than 300 members of this federation, from across Maharashtra, were present at the convention.
“Till now, we have been paying Rs400 as tax annually. But the state transport department has escalated this amount to Rs2,000,” said Mohan Goyal, general secretary, FOTTO.
FOTTO members want the transport department to reduce this amount claiming the prices of commodities such as vehicle spare parts, petrol and diesel and other car accessories have increased considerably. The members also said it was unfair that the government was levying taxes on tourist operators even as they promote the state as an ideal tourist destination.
If the federation decides to go ahead with the taxi strike, it could spell trouble for commuters, especially those who rely on the tourist taxis to get home at night. Every tourist taxi operator owns around 10 or more taxis, which are often hired by companies to drop employees working night shifts to their houses.
“A large number of tourist taxis might go off the roads which is going to be a problem, especially considering how many people work night shifts now,” said V Shankar, who works for a multinational company at Goregaon.