Pitching for reinstatement of the provision to make 15 years’ domicile mandatory for issuing taxi permits, Benaulim MLA Churchill Alemao said that this is only way the state government can protect the livelihood of Goans and the Goenkarponn.
Speaking to media persons alongside tourist taxi owners from Benaulim and Colva, Alemao said that the Goa Miles mobile application is one of the initiatives due to which Goans have lost their business and jobs.
“In the past, anyone who wanted to start a taxi had to apply for a permit and licence with a 15-year domicile certificate, character certificate and police clearance. But today if you look at Goa Miles, the drivers who are non Goans are running the business without a badge. If this continues, there will be thousands more outsiders coming to Goa and Goans will be left high and dry. That’s why the 15-year domicile requirement should be made mandatory,” said Alemao.
Voicing the opinions of Goan taxi drivers associated with resorts and hotels along the coastal stretch, Alemao said that outsiders were not only stepping on the toes of the Goan taxi drivers, but were also giving the industry a bad name.
“Most of our Goan taxi drivers are associated with a resort or hotel and they have fixed rates because of which they cannot overcharge a customer using their taxi. They are paid by the hotels. It is the drivers from Goa Miles that are overcharging and our Goan drivers are getting a bad name,” he said.
Taxi owners also added that tour operators were eating into their business. “When a big event like BRICS happened, only outsiders with taxis benefited. Similarly, now tour operators are completely finishing our business. They have started to capture our work and are charging customers in dollars making lots of money,” said Benaulim taxi driver Jose Afonso.