For Mumbai cab permit, 15-year domicile must

Maharashtra introduces new rule only for fresh applications

 Most of the taxi drivers in Mumbai are from Uttar Pradesh, and the state government was quick to clarify that the new rules will not affect the taxi drivers who already have permits and who hold a valid licence.

 The decision to frame new rules about taxi permits was taken a weekly meeting of the state cabinet. “It has been decided that henceforth licences will be issued to only those taxi drivers who have been a resident of the state for at least 15 years and can read and write Marathi,” a chief minister’s office spokesman said.

The Bombay Taximen’s association, the oldest in the city, condemned the decision with its secretary A L Quadros saying it was unacceptable and “politically motivated.”

Only two months back, the Samajwadi Party (SP) legislator Abu Azmi was slapped and manhandled inside the state Assembly by the MNS members for taking oath in Hindi. Azmi is now learning Marathi and has hired a tutor to teach him the local language.

There are over two lakh taxi drivers in Mumbai and the bulk of them are from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarkhand. About 4,000 new taxi permits are given every year.

Marathi is key

“We are making an effort to make the taxi services an organised sector. The drivers should know Marathi, read Marathi and write Marathi,” Chavan later told reporters.
 The MNS chief Raj Thackeray had launched a violent campaign against North Indian migrants in the state last year. The 15-year rule is not new in the state. In fact, the state government housing agencies like MHADA and CIDCO insist on a domicile certificate from the buyer, which proves his continuous residence in the state in the preceding 15 years.

As a result of the Government decision, 24,000 permits would be available but all these would not bee issued in one go and instead be staggered over a period of six years with 4,000 permits issued each year, Chavan said.

Individual taxi drivers would not be given permits, an official in the transport department said.

“Permits would be given to taxi operators and the norms of 15-years domicile and knowledge of Marathi would be applicable to those being employed as drivers by them,” he said.

An amount of Rs one lakh would be charged from taxi operators for the new permits and the government expects to mop up Rs 240 crore revenue through it, he added.

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