Permit issue afflicts tourist taxi drivers

Representational image of tourist taxis Meghalaya.

SHILLONG, Oct 1: With months-long wait to get their files processed by authorities becoming inefficacious, despondent tourist taxi drivers from Meghalaya have come out to air their grievances, which include continuous harassment in both Meghalaya and Assam, over permit issues.
Over the past few months, tourist taxi drivers from the state have reportedly been paying Rs 10,000 as penalty for the renewal of permits, which had expired during the COVID-induced lockdown.
For the past few months, they also have been frequenting the Secretariat only to be sent back with an “assurance” every time that their grievances would be looked into.
Airing concern over the state of affairs, the Khasi Hills Tourist Taxi Association (KHTTA) has questioned the delay of the Transport department to process the applications.
“There has been no development on the issue despite the government assuring that it will be rectified five to six months ago,” said Association general secretary Bhaskar P Deb.
He said that their woes continue despite Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong’s assurance that the matter will be looked into.
According to Deb, tourist taxi drivers from state are regularly stopped in Assam and other Northeastern States over the permit issue.
Claiming that there are times when the tourist taxi drivers are even stopped in the state over the issue of permit, he appealed to the government to bail them out of their misery.
Association secretary Munna Sunar has also requested the Transport department to being an end to their miseries so that they can continue earning their livelihood.
The members of the Association on Friday also called on cabinet minister Sanbor Shullai and apprised him of their plight. They, however, were told to come back after Puja celebrations.
Meanwhile, president of All-Greater Laban Tourist Taxi Owners and Drivers Committee Aijingsuk Marbaniang has urged the traffic police to not be stringent over the issue of permit, while maintaining that the issue is pending with the Transport department.
It is pertinent to note that the deputy chief minister had earlier informed that the decision on the waiver of penalty has to be taken by the state Cabinet.