M A I N   N E W S

Now, Marathi rider for cabbies in M’rashtra
Shiv Kumar
Tribune News Service

Mumbai, January 20
Falling into the footsteps of Raj Thackeray’s MNS, the Chavan government has made it mandatory for taxi drivers to be residents of Maharashtra for at least 15 years and possess the working knowledge of Marathi in order to obtain permits.

According to a decision taken by the state cabinet today, people applying for a taxi permit must provide a domicile certificate and take written and oral examination in Marathi to qualify. However, existing taxi drivers holding a valid license may continue with their business, the government announced.

The decision to restrict entry of outsiders in the taxi business comes at a time when migrants from northern India have virtually taken over the business in Mumbai, Thane, Navi Mumbai and their neighboring areas.

Incidentally, the traffic authorities have stopped issuing new taxi permits in Mumbai in order to avoid bringing more vehicles on to the city roads. "We are not against anyone. We just want to ensure that local people are not denied an opportunity to earn a living by migrants,” Congress spokesperson Anant Gadgil told reporters later in the day.

The decision has been welcomed by all the major political parties. The Nationalist Congress Party, which is in power along with the Congress, was the first to hail the move. "You need a domicile certificate to buy land or join a medical college. So what is wrong if we make it mandatory for taxi drivers as well," NCP spokesman Jitendra Awhad said. The Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena have also backed the measure, opposed only by the taxi drivers’ union.



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