Goa: 48 taxi operators held under ESMA for striking work

Meanwhile, most of the tourist taxis remained off roads in Goa on Wednesday

Prime News, Nation, (Panaji), August 7:-Goa Police on Wednesday arrested 48 striking tourist taxi operators and booked them under the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

The state government imposed ESMA on August 1, a day before the tourist taxi operators began their strike demanding scrapping of the app-based cab service ‘GoaMiles’.

“Around 48 tourist taxi operators, who operated at Karmali railway station, were arrested for participating in the mass strike,” Old Goa police station’s inspector Jivba Dalvi told reporters here.

The arrests were made following a complaint by the transport department against the 48 taxi operators at Karmali railway station (in North Goa district) for participating in the strike, thereby violating the government order and denying services to the public, he said.

“Offences was registered against them under Indian Penal Code Section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) and provisions of the Goa Essential Services Maintenance Act-1988,” he said.

‘GoaMiles’ is an initiative of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation, aimed at easing the travelling woes of tourists and helping Goan taxi drivers earn more. The service operates through a mobile phone application.

Meanwhile, most of the tourist taxis remained off roads in Goa on Wednesday.

All Goa Tourist Taxi Association President Chetan Kamat, who was among those present at a meeting held with Chief Minister Pramod Sawant in the Assembly complex on Tuesday night to end the stand-off, said they were yet to take a decision on withdrawing the strike.

“We will soon be holding a meeting to decide our future course of action,” he said.

Sawant told reporters late Tuesday night that the taxi owners were asked to either join ‘GoaMiles’ or have their own app, or resume their services as being operated earlier.

He said the demand of the agitating tourist taxi operators to scrap ‘GoaMiles’ will not be fulfilled.

State Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Wednesday claimed some politicians from South Goa district were supporting the tourist taxi associations.

“I have no sympathy with the taxi owners’ association.

If tourism has to grow, then we need these kind of apps (like GoaMiles) in the state,” Rane told reporters here.

“I hope Sawant remains firm on his decision. We need tourists to come to Goa. It is cheaper to come to Goa but expensive to drive from the airport to Leela Hotel,” he noted.

-(NAV, Inputs: Agencies)

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