Panaji: Operators of tourist and black-yellow taxi in Goa have warned of going on a strike on February 24 to protest the government`s permission to a private company for operating taxi service in the state.
The protestors are against the recently given permission to privately run Ola cab service and women`s taxi service, which will be directly in competition with the traditional tourist and black-yellow taxi business in Goa.
More than 7,000 taxis criss-crossing Goa everyday are expected to join the strike call, which would severely affect the tourism trade in the beach state, sources said.
The strike call followed an extensive meeting held yesterday by North Goa Tourist Tax Association (NGTTOA), South Goa Tourist Taxi Owners Association (SGTTOA), the Federation of Tourist Taxi Owners and Drivers Goa (FTTAG) along with Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT), an organisation supported by Goa church.
NGTTOA general secretary Vinayak Nanoskar, who announced the strike call after the meeting, told reporters that the invasion of private players will sabotage the entire tourist taxi business, which has been a backbone of the tourism industry.
He termed the permission to private players as "backdoor entry" by the state government which is on to allegedly "kill" the taxi business in the state.
"We strongly oppose this move. We want the government to withdraw the permission to Ola cab within next 48 hours, failing which a one-day strike would be called on coming Monday," he warned.
The taxi operators, who were largely working unorganised in the state, have now decided to unite under a `cooperative model` that would deal with business issues and will also look into the social welfare of taxi operators.
The taxi operators, emerging from the meeting, condemned the state government for its failure to curb the illegally operated cab business by Russians.
"The CM`s assurance that there will be surprise raids has not been fulfilled," Nanoskar said.
CRT convener Fr Maverick Fernandes said at the meeting it has been decided that all local taxi operators will unite to create a new system of operations in next six months.
The system will be in-line with well established systems in popular destinations around the world, he added.