Arvind Kejriwal reaches out to Goa’s taxi operators; promises corporation ahead of polls

Arvind Kejriwal promised that the corporation, when formed, would be largely staffed by the taxi operators themselves allowing them to take decisions on when and whether they can come under the umbrella of an app, and when fares should be hiked
Arvind Kejriwal said 70% of the credit for the formation of the AAP government in Delhi is due to taxi and auto drivers (ANI)
Arvind Kejriwal said 70% of the credit for the formation of the AAP government in Delhi is due to taxi and auto drivers (ANI)
Published on Nov 18, 2021 12:07 AM IST
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ByGerard de Souza

Panaji Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convener Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday reached out to Goa’s taxi operators and promised to form a corporation to address their grievances if his party is voted to power in the state.

“Seventy per cent of the credit for the formation of the AAP government in Delhi is due to taxi and auto drivers. I told auto and taxi drivers that I will take up your fight, you help me form a government... They stuck AAP posters on their auto and taxis for free. Autos travel across Delhi. There can be no better canvassing,” he said, addressing a gathering of taxi operators, in the vicinity of Goa’s Dabolim airport.

“Seven years ago auto and taxi drivers were being called mafia. No politician wanted to associate themselves with taxi and auto operators in Delhi. I had called a similar meeting in Delhi with taxi and auto drivers where I had asked for their support,” he added.

Kejriwal promised that the corporation, so formed, would be largely staffed by the taxi operators themselves allowing them to take decisions on when and whether they can come under the umbrella of an app, and when fares should be hiked.

“We will form a corporation with one or two government officers, the rest of the members will be taxi and auto drivers. You will form the policy. You will decide whether you want to start an app-based service or hike fares,” he said.

Taxi operators in Goa have long been protesting against the government-promoted GoaMiles taxi service that they alleged is eating into their business as well as have been protesting against the government’s decision to make it mandatory to install digital meters from a sole provider, which they say is a scam, as it benefits only one company.

Around 25,000 taxis are registered with the Goa transport department and their support is considered crucial in certain coastal constituencies where their votes are considered crucial for the aspiring candidates. However, taxi operators have not voted in unison with a lack of unity among the operators ensuring that despite coming together on issues, differing political ideologies meant the taxi operators cannot be considered a ‘bloc’ that can be captured even if their leaders vow allegiance to political parties.

“We are yet unsure of what his promises entail and as such it is too early to comment on the promises that have been made,” Ravindra Vengurlekar the vice president of the North Goa Tourist Taxi Operators Association, said.

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Friday, January 21, 2022