The state transport department has give in to the demands of the taxi drivers to refund the compounding fees which amounts to around Rs13.5 crore.
The decision was taken in an urgent meeting on Wednesday after the department received a letter from the Mumbai Taximen’s Sangathan threatening to go on strike and self-immolation on April 21.
A letter dated April 19, written by Kanhiya Singh, the secretary of the sangathan, said the transport department should return the compounding fees that the drivers had paid and also stop malpractices at regional transport offices (RTOs).
The compounding fees were being collected by the RTOs from taxi drivers if they failed to renew their permits. Many of the drivers working for black and yellow taxis and even fleet radio cabs had paid compounding fees ranging between Rs200 to Rs350.
“The Bombay high court gave an order in 2009 to return the compounding fees to drivers within six weeks,” said S Khemka, general secretary, Mumbai Taximen’s Sangathan.
However, the transport department has decided that it would return the money only to drivers who produce the correct documents and receipts.
“There won’t be any problem from the taxi drivers since we have already agreed to meet their demands. However, we will verify the genuineness of the receipts produced at the RTOs before refunding,” said Dilip Jadhav, transport commissioner.
Even the Mumbai Taximen’s Union, led by AL Quadros, will ask its drivers to get the refund in case it is pending. “Now that the transport department has agreed to give the refund, I will also ask our members to get it. The drivers shouldn’t expect a refund if they don’t produce true copy of the receipt,” said Quadros.