Strike by U’khand cab­bies leaves tourists stranded

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION | POLITICS POLICY - NEWS NET­WORK

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.

Deepak Rawat

OVER THE HILLS AND FAR AWAY: Taxi op­er­a­tors stayed off the roads in protest against fit­ting of speed gover­nors in their ve­hi­cles

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