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Chavan's 'climbdown' on taxi permits irks Raj Thackeray

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's latest remark that taxi permits would be given to those knowing any local language including Hindi and Gujarati, has evoked sharp reactions from Shiv Sena and MNS.
By HT Correspondent | PTI, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JAN 21, 2010 09:28 PM IST

Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's latest remark that taxi permits would be given to those knowing any local language including Hindi and Gujarati, has evoked sharp reactions from Shiv Sena and MNS.

"The chief minister should be firm on his stance," MNS chief Raj Thackeray said, reacting to Chavan's remarks, a day after the Congress-NCP government decided to give new taxi licenses to only those persons who are well-versed in Marathi and have resided in the state for at least 15 years.

The government had, however, clarified that existing taxi drivers, who hold a valid license, would not be affected by the decision.

Chavan said, "Cabinet has gone by the Maharashtra Motor vehicles rules which were framed in 1989. As per that rule, for a person to have a permit, 15 years of domicile is compulsory. And the second rule says that for a taxi badge for a driver, working knowledge of local language is necessary."

"How can Chavan change the collective decision of the cabinet," Raj told reporters.

Terming Chavan's 'about turn' as a sign of 'lachari' (haplessness), Raj said, "the chief minister does not have the capability of abiding by the cabinet decision."

"All states take such measures for benefit of their people," the MNS chief said.

If the government does not give permits to Marathi people for the 4000 new taxis, MNS party will not allow these taxis to move on the road, he said, adding, "those who want to treat this as threat can do so."

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