Panaji: Transportation in Goa came to a halt after thousands of taxi drivers staged massive protests against the BJP-led government's decision to allow an app-based cab aggregator to continue its services.
Even as the government pressed additional state transport corporation buses to facilitate pick up of tourists at the Dabolim International Airport, railway and bus stations, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant urged taxi operators to withdraw the strike.
"We are willing to talk. If the taxi operators want the government can start a special app service for our striking taxi operators. But they have to embrace technology," Sawant told reporters outside the state Legislative Assembly complex on Friday. However, he refused to discontinue GoaMiles, the cab aggregator service, stating that the step was taken to ensure that tourists in the state are not inconvenienced.
Chetan Kamat, who heads the All Goa Taxi Operators Union, said that the cab operators were firm in their demand to scrap GoaMiles.
"The government has to shut it own for a level playing field," Kamat said.
GoaMiles is a service run by a private company in partnership with the tourism corporation.
A large section of of Goa's 30,000 odd tourist taxis and the drivers who man them, have often been accused of over-charging, intimidating and operating in an unregulated environment.
Several attempts by the state government to install and implement a fare-meter system have failed, even as a deadline of August set by the High Court to install fare meters in Goa's taxis has also not been met.