AT LEAST 1,000 taxi drivers around Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA), Mumbai, will go on strike on Saturday against shifting of their parking base.
The drivers are opposing shifting of their parking base from Terminal 1 to what they claim is a much smaller place.
GVK, which operates CSIA, had asked for a shift in parking base of fleets of kaali-peelis and air-conditioned (AC) cabs, presently near Terminal 1, to a space near Gate number 9. The present space was to be used for GVK’S Sky City project, which involves setting up of commercial establishments on this land.
Taxi drivers claimed that the alternative location offered could not accommodate all vehicles and would hurt business. “For the past three months, airport officials have been threatening us to vacate our present parking spot for development activities. However, what they fail to understand is the alternative location does not suit our fleet size and will not be useful as far as reaching out to commuters is concerned. As a mark of protest, we threatened a strike on Saturday so that our voice is heard,” said Kanhaiya Singh, union leader of the Mumbai Taximen Sanghatana at CSIA.
Demands for CCTV cameras, drinking water and toilets in the parking base near the international airport were yet to be met, drivers claimed.
“Drivers near the international airport have been asking for drinking water and proper toilets for long. We had also asked for CCTV cameras for security and dividers between AC cabs and kaali-peelis, which is yet to happen,” Singh said.
CSIA officials refused to comment. A total of 2,700 taxis operate around the CSIA, of which 1,500 are air-conditioned while the rest are kaali-peelis.