Strike by U’khand cabbies leaves tourists stranded
TIMES Dehradun/Nainital/Mussoorie/Haridwar: Tourists in various hill stations and pilgrimage centres in the state were stranded on Thursday as commercial taxi operators stayed off the roads in protest against fitting of speed governors in their vehicles. The taxi drivers said that they were not opposed to devices being installed in new vehicles but it was difficult to drive old vehicles on hilly roads without speeding up on steep terrain. The speed governors will limit the speed of vehicles to 80 kilometres per hour.
By the end of the day, the strike seemed to have had the desired effect with the transport department postponing its decision to make installation of speed governors mandatory in all vehicles manufactured before October 1, 2015.
Amit Kumar, a taxi owner, said, “We have been opposing installation of speed governors in old vehicles as it is very difficult to drive them up the hills. We are happy our demands are being heard.”
According to estimates, some 10,000 commercial cars and jeeps stayed off the roads on Thursday, leaving tourists in Dehradun, Mussoorie, Haridwar, Rishikesh and Nainital hassled.
Sunil Malhotra, a tourist from Delhi, said that he had planned to go from Rishikesh to Dhanaulti but was unable to find a cab. “I had to cancel my plan to go to Dhanaulti. I will be returning to Delhi. It is very disappointing,” he said.
Those at Jolly Grant Airport in Dehradun and train stations across the state complained that they had to walk for several kilometres as no cabs were on the road. Some tourists said that buses on several routes were infrequent or crowded. Tourists who had elderly people accompanying them were particularly hit.
“We wanted to go to Neelkanth Mahadev temple in Rishikesh from Haridwar but could not find a taxi. My mother is 65 years old and has arthritis,” said Ankush Kumar, a tourist from Rajasthan.
Meanwhile, the transport department deferred its decision of compulsory installation of speed governors and formed a technical committee to address the concerns raised by taxi operators.
OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY: Taxi operators stayed off the roads in protest against fitting of speed governors in their vehicles