Shimla: Irked over the strike by taxi and other commercial vehicles operators, the Himachal Pradesh government on Tuesday hinted at "retaliatory measures" to rein in the private transporters.
Transport Minister GS Bali said the striking operators had been misled and there was no proposal for any hike in taxes. He also chided the operators for not coming to him with their problems before the strike.
"My doors are open for negotiations, but the government would also take certain steps like introducing metered taxis, making wearing uniform mandatory, allowing parking of vehicles only at authorised places, and imparting training on good behavior," he said.
The minister said his department was also considering bringing a proposal before the cabinet to "roll back" 30 per cent hike in bus fares made in September last.
In case the hike was withdrawn, the private commercial operators would be directly hit, he said in a veiled threat.
Bali said the strike by commercial vehicle operators had caused inconvenience and hardship to the people, but the government would not allow it and take necessary steps to overcome the situation.
Terming the strike as "uncalled for", Bali said there was no reason for the strike.
Bali took strong exception to the attitude of transport operators and political parties, including Congress, for deliberately playing politics instead of protecting the interests of the commuters and citizens.
He said the high court orders regarding installation of meters in taxis would be complied with and measures like displaying I-cards and photo of the drivers, wearing uniforms, proper parking and checking over-charging from the passenger would be taken up by the government.
"If the taxi operators did not comply with the conditions including attending workshops and training (to upgrade driving skills), enforcement agencies will start a rigorous drive to enforce these regulations for safety of passengers," he said.
Meanwhile, the commercial vehicles operators continued their strike for the second day causing inconvenience to people and affecting supplies of commodities like milk, bread and other items.