Calangute (Goa) [India], May 7 (ANI): Even though the Goa government has allowed the functioning of tourist taxis from May 4, taxi operators claim that their business has been stalled as the coronavirus-induced lockdown has paralyzed the tourism activities.
As the coastal state is largely dependent on tourism industry, taxi operators are seeking financial assistance from the government.
North Goa Tourist Taxi Association President Vasudev Arlekar told ANI that after the state government's decision to allow tourist taxis to resume operation in the state, there has been no business happening.
"There are more than 18 lakh four-wheelers in the state which has a population of 16 lakh. There is a four-wheeler in every house. Our business is entirely dependent on the tourists that arrive here on holidays, and not the locals," Arlekar said.
He added that the taxi operations cannot commence in the state unless the tourism industry restarts. "And it does not look like that the tourism industry will resume so soon," Arlekar expressed.
He recalled that the association represented by its North Goa Tourist Taxi Association had met chief minister Pramod Sawant with several demands. "We had demanded that each of the tour operators should be paid Rs 12,000 per month for the next six months as remuneration. Our demand still stands," he said.
Arlekar said that the taxi operators are not able to pay their bank installments, hence state government should take up the issue with the respective financial institutions.
He said that the state government should postpone the renewal of insurance and waive off taxes like road tax for the tourist taxis for the financial year 2020-2021.
Speaking to one of the taxi drivers, he said that at this present moment, there has been no assistance provided by the state government.
"We have received no help from the government. We do not have money to even buy milk. How can we resume taxi services when there are no tourists? What is the point of driving the taxi if there are no tourists," he said.
Echoing a similar sentiment, another driver said that even though the centre has declared Goa as a green zone, the matters have not helped the taxi drivers at all. "With the state borders shut and our business only dependent on tourists from other states, our business has been affected adversely," he said.
"Till the time, the whole of India does not become a green zone, till then I do not feel that Goa's business would resume normal service," he added.(ANI)