PANAJI: North Goa Rent-a-Car Association (NGRCA), a newly constituted body of private vehicle owners, demanded the Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar and Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar to withdraw the moratorium imposed on the issuance of rent-a-car permits.
The joint meeting with the two ministers was held on Friday morning at the Secretariat so as to allow them to run their business legally.
Demanding the legalisation of the business, and abolish the special squad, keeping an eye on the renting out of private vehicles, the association members who claim to be deprived of their livelihood with the extension of the moratorium till March 2015, formed the association last year, in order to put forth their demands.
After the meeting, vice-president of the association Nitin Chodankar said, “We have been assured by the Chief Minister during the meeting that he would look into the demands. The final decision is likely to be taken in the first week of February.”
Chodankar also said, “Our demands are legitimate. We are asking to legalize our business, for which we have also agreed to pay all the taxes.”
Around 30-40 private vehicle operators from the coastal belt were seen parked outside the Secretariat building.
Stating that hiring out the vehicles to be the only source of income, Chodankar said, “during the meeting we informed both the ministers that there are around 450 youth in the Kerim-Sinquerim belt who are earning their livelihood, by hiring out their private vehicle. If the government failed to accept our demand, then it is going to affect our livelihood. At present we are facing a lot of difficulties from the squad, who compound our vehicles”.
The government was compelled to form a special squad to check the illegalities after the taxi associations from North as well as South Goa demanded cracking down on ‘illegal private tourist vehicles’ claiming that it was snatching their business.
Chodankar also said, “Most of the domestic tourists prefer to drive cars on their own, in order to have privacy, and surprisingly, taxi operators themselves recommend the tourists to hire private cars, so that they can earn commission. We have told the Chief Minister that our business should be legalized, as we are into this business activity, since 40 years.”
It has been learnt that the locals and taxi operators from the North coastal belt are dependent on such ‘illegal business,’ which has been going on for the past 40 years, however, it flourished after the government imposed the moratorium, on the issuance of the rent-a-car permits.
Ruling out the possibility of opposition from taxi operators, the president of
NGRCA Ramdas Palkar said, “I do not see there will be any opposition from the taxi operators, as 40 per cent of the licensed taxi operators, who run their vehicles in North Goa, also run an illegal parallel business of either renting out their private vehicles with or without a driver. Also we do not see any opposition from the taxi operators plying tourists, as it is the customer who will hire a vehicle of his choice.”
Palkar also said that prior to the Lok Sabha elections around 100 private vehicle owners had met the former chief minister Manohar Parrikar and Calangute MLA Michael Lobo, urging them to legalise their business.