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Goa cabbies on strike, seek withdrawal of app-based taxis (Ld)
Panaji, April 8 - Goa's tourist taxi operators on Thursday went on a day-long strike demanding the withdrawal of the services of app-based taxis operating in the state, even as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that the deadlock would be resolved soon.
Spokesperson for Goa's taxi unions Bappa Korgaonkar said the strike had been called to demand withdrawal of the Tourism Ministry-backed GoaMiles app-based aggregator cab service and ApnaBhada aggregator cab service.
"We had staged peaceful dharnas in the past to urge the government to withdraw these services. But that has not worked, so we are forced to go on strike today (Thursday)," Korgaonkar said.
Reacting to the demands made by the agitating taxi drivers, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said that he has assured the protestors that "their issue would be resolved soon".
Hundreds of taxi operators gathered near the state capital's city square at Azad maidan and chanted slogans against the BJP-led coalition government.
The strike also comes days after the state Transport Ministry said that all taxi operators would have to outfit their public carriers with fare meters.
A large section of Goa's 30,000 odd tourist taxis and the drivers who man them, have often been accused of overcharging, intimidating and operating in an unregulated environment.
Following a slew of complaints, the state Tourism Ministry in 2018 started an outsourced private app-based taxi service GoaMiles, which has been opposed by local taxi unions.
Earlier this week, another private app-based taxi service ApnaBhada was also launched in the state.
Ola taxi services were introduced in Goa in 2014, but were soon stopped by the state transport department following protests by local taxi operators.
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