Hundreds of passengers and tourists were stranded in Goa on Friday after more than 18,000 taxis went on a strike despite the government invoking the Essential Services Management Act prohibiting the protest, PTI reported. Taxi operators gathered at Azad Maidan in Panaji to join the strike.
Taxi operators called the strike to protest against the installation of speed governors in their vehicles and harassment by police and transport authorities. On Thursday, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had warned taxi drivers against violence during the strike, saying licenses of those who indulge in violence will be suspended.
The North Goa Taxi Owners’ Association said they had decided to go ahead with the strike as they had issued a notice to the government about it a fortnight ago, as required under the Goa Essential Service Maintenance Act, 1988.
“We will not tolerate the harassment which is being meted out to us by the state government,” the association’s president Laxman Korgaonkar told PTI. “We are against the installation of speed governors in our vehicles. When other states have not installed it as yet, why should we be forced to do so?”
The state government has pressed private vehicles and buses into service to deal with the strike, PTI reported. Goa Department of Tourism said it had made special arrangements for facilitating movement in light of the taxi association’s “illegal strike”.