Goa striking taxi drivers want negotiations with govt broadcast live

Even as the ongoing taxi strike has dragged for more than a week, office bearers of the taxi associations in Goa have demanded that the lobby’s negotiations with Goa government ministers would be held if they are broadcast live on social media.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, where hundreds of taxi drivers have been staging a protest since last week, Bappa Korgaonkar, a spokesperson for the striking drivers said that the demand for live broadcast of the negotiations was made to overcome fears among a section of the public transporter lobby about a secret deal being struck between taxi union leaders and the government.

“Any negotiation with our delegation should be broadcast live on social media,” Korgaonkar said.

Women and children of striking taxi drivers have now joined the protest in a bid to leverage pressure on the state government to agree to their demands.

Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho has said that the government was willing to talk with the protesters, but only on April 20.

“We do not know why the government wants to wait for five more days to talk to us, but we are willing to carry on our strike for five months if need be,” Korgaonkar said.

Taxi operators in Goa have gone on strike, demanding an immediate end to GoaMiles, a cab aggregator service backed by the state tourism development corporation, claiming it was impacting the livelihood of nearly 30,000 private tourist taxi operators in the state.

A large section of Goa’s 30,000 odd tourist taxis and the drivers who man them, have often been accused of overcharging, intimidating and operating in an unregulated environment.

Following a slew of complaints, the state Tourism Ministry in 2018 started an outsourced private app-based taxi service GoaMiles, which has been opposed by local taxi unions.