Aizawl, Feb 29: Thousands of protesters today joined a protest rally in the capital organised by Zoram Taxi Owners’ Association (ZTOA) and Zoram Taxi Drivers’ Association (ZTDA) in protest against the government decision to allegedly curb certain privileges enjoy by taxis. The organizations also called for indefinite strike of all taxis from March one till their demands are met.
The agitation prompted by the state government’s decision to increase vehicle taxes, cancellation of all Mizoram plying permit, termination of replacement system and the order to ply taxi on alternate days received good support from members of the two organizations as thousands of protesters thronged the street keeping commuters at inconvenience.
Organized between Vanapa Hall and Chanmari point, the protest rally was addressed by leaders of both the organizations.
Addressing the protest rally, ZTDA president Laldawngliana took out a jibe at the government, saying it tired to disrupt the income and livelihood of all Taxi drivers and owners by introducing certain rules beyond tolerance.
“There are at present about 1,30,000 vehicles in Mizoram of which about 3,700 are taxis. Why is the government felling so much ill towards taxis. Why is it felt congested with taxis while it is comparatively minimal against the total number of vehicles in the state,” Laldawngliana asked as he appealed to Lal Thanhawla led government to review and revoke its order.
He said that the decision to make taxis ply on alternate days would immensely affect the income of drivers as well as owners who are also daily wages earners.
Laldawngliana said that the abolition of replacement system would means like leaving taxi owners jobless or without income if he is not allow to replace his old and outdated vehicle by new one with the help of the existing permit.
He added that life time tax is too high an amount to be paid by poor taxi owners at a time and plying service on alternate days means deprivation of income. “Is it not that the government is like ordering us to starve on alternate days by asking us to service on alternate days,” Laldawngliana questioned.
Members of the two organizations who took part at the protest rally also passed five resolutions which include resumption of replacement system for 10 year old vehicle, non-cancellation of all Mizoram playing permit. Apart from these, the organizations in their resolutions also demands the government to review and revoke lifetime tax and alternate day service and also that their demands be met at the earliest possible.
Meanwhile, leaders of Commercial Vehicle Joint Action Committee (CVJAC) today met reporters at Aizawl Press Club and raised their voices against the government decision to allegedly undermine the privileges of commercial vehicle drivers and owners.
Speaking to reporters the leaders said that they would face a livelihood problem if the government remain adamant and not revoke its order. They also demanded that a promise of special road permit in emergency case as made by state transport minister be given in written and not only in verbal.