GUWAHATI, Nov 25 - As a ban on 10-year-old share taxis (trekkers) and 15-year-old city buses imposed by the Regional Transport Authority (RTA) came into effect from today, the All Guwahati Share Taxi Owners Association went on the offensive, denouncing the way the issue was handled by the transport regulator.
On a day when the district transport officials launched drives to enforce the ban, the taxi owners called a meeting to chalk out its future course of action. The association, expressing its displeasure at the way the entire issue has been handled by the RTA, demanded that the government should come up with a comprehensive policy to address their grievances.
It needs to be mentioned that following a Gauhati High Court order, a decision to phase out old buses and trekkers was taken by the RTA at a meeting held on October 25. At this meet, the owners of buses and trekkers were served a month’s ultimatum to replace their old vehicles.
The Association said that there should have been a policy of subsidy or buy back to provide some respite to its members. Deep Mazumdar, president of the Association said that without some succour from the government the livelihood of 20,000 people would be at stake. “Around 1150 share taxis were plying daily on the streets of the capital city ensuring that 2 lakh commuters reach their destination everyday,” said Mazumdar adding that the Association has accepted the order of the High Court but maintained that it is also important to consider the livelihood options of thousands of people dependent on the service.
“Most of the trekker owners are educated unemployed youths and they are not in the financial position to replace their 10-year-old vehicles with new ones,” said Mazumdar informing that out of the 1150 share taxis plying on the roads, 650 were more than 10 years old.
On the other hand, an official of DTA said that action would be taken as per the law against those vehicles that ply on the roads without meeting the requirements.
Meanwhile, a meet chaired by Kamrup DC in-charge Barnali Sarma and attended by police and transport officials reviewed the measures to be taken for implementing the decision on banning the old buses and trekkers.