The state governments recent move to allow transfer of permits of auto-rickshaws and taxis in lieu of a fee has not gone down well with taxi and auto-rickshaw unions. Three major taxi unions are opposing it. They want changes in the procedure of transfer,besides a lower fee to be charged.
Auto-rickshaw and taxi owners and drivers can now sell/ transfer their permits by paying Rs 25,000 to the Regional Transport Offices (RTO). The move is expected to fetch the state government an additional revenue of Rs 100 crore.
The decision was taken this week as we were not issuing new permits. More importantly,many permit transfers were pending,which led to malpractice. The decision is likely to bring more transparency, said state transport minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil.
Deepak Sawant,president of the Mumbai Autorickshaw,Taxi Chalak (driver) Malak (owner) Sena,said that several illegal practices are taking place during transfer of permits,like a single permit being used for two or three vehicles.
We want the permits to be transferred to people domiciled in Maharashtra (who have been residing in the state for more than 15 years). This will ensure that the permits go to local people. The government should also ensure that the permits of black-and-yellow taxis are not given to fleet taxis as it will hamper business of black-and-yellow taxis, Sawant added.
Prem Singh of the Mumbai Taxi Association is also opposing the move,though for a different reason. Why should the state levy a fee when permits are transferred to a relative? (father to son or brother to brother). Its their right. More importantly,many are not in a position to pay Rs 25,000 as fee, said A L Quadros,general secretary of Mumbai Taximens Union.
We have not received any request from the unions regarding this but reducing permit fee or making it free in case of transfer to relatives would be difficult. It would be as good as getting new permits for free, Vikhe Patil said.