Shillong, Feb 3: Shillong city, famous for its taxis synonymous with their yellow-colored rooftops, looked a completely different picture altogether on Wednesday as hundreds of these passenger vehicles went off the roads of the state capital to join the indefinite protect call given by the Meghalaya Joint Action Committee of Commercial Vehicles, a united body of transporters that are demanding the state government address their grievances about high taxes.
The joint action committee (MJACCV) wants the government to cut taxes by 50 percent complaining that they are burdened by these taxes particularly at a time when the business had slumped for almost an entire year in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
The MJACCV also wants the government to raise the fares for commercial vehicles and argues that prices of all essential commodities have been rising continuously.
In the face of the protest by the commercial vehicle owners and associations, roads in Shillong witnessed only private cars, maxi cabs, and government buses moving to and fro the city limits.
HUB NEWS caught up with some aggrieved passengers who complained about the hardship they had to endure in view of cabbies staying off the roads. “We do not have our own vehicle and depend on public transport. Today it has been troublesome in getting transport. I have been waiting for the government
bus” complained one stranded passenger.
Two others, waiting for taxis also let loose their immense hardship due to the strike. “We have come from a long journey and we are stuck with two heavy luggage and no vehicle,” they complained.
It may be mentioned that the MJACCV argues that the drivers have to pay taxes despite them not getting any business during the lockdown period.
The Hynniewtep Youth Council (HYC) central body has urged the state government to call the leaders of the taxi association to discuss the grievances of the taxi drivers. The organization stated that the demands of the taxi drivers’ association are well-grounded as the drivers could not make any living from their business during the lockdown. They also supported the drivers in their opposition to the petrol and diesel hike.
At the same time, the HYC organization has appealed to the taxi drivers to ferry patients if ambulances are unavailable.