Goa taxi rivalry gets violent, six cab drivers injured

The ongoing agitation between operators of yellow and black taxi services and a government-endorsed app-based cab aggregator service turned violent on Monday, with six taxi drivers being arrested following a violent daylight slug-fest outside the Madgaon railway station.

According to the police, the clashes between four yellow and black taxi services and two drivers associated with the cab aggregator service GoaMiles resulted in several people getting injured and hospitalised.

“There were violent clashes between two groups of taxi operators. Those who sustained injuries have been admitted to a local government hospital," Margao Town police inspector Tushar Lotlikar told reporters. The official also said that two cross-complaints filed by both sets of taxi operators have been registered at the Margao police station. 

Monday's violence tops a series of public showdowns between the two taxi groups, which has triggered panic amongst the visiting tourists, for whom taxi services are the only means of transport, because of poor transportation infrastructure in the state.  

Goa's private taxi association, which control around 30,000 taxis operation in the state, have been at loggerheads with GoaMiles.

In the last one year, more than a dozen First Information Reports have been filed by GoaMiles taxi drivers, accusing private taxi operators of assault and threats.

Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has also said, that any further violence from the private taxi operators would result in strict action by the government.

Despite the recent surge in tourism, civil society groups, as well as the Opposition, has complained that the state lacks adequate infrastructure and public transport mechanisms.

There are no metered taxis in the state and efforts to make installation of meters in cabs, despite a high court ruling, has been opposed by taxi driver associations, most of which are linked to politicians.

In 2014, after a brief period of operation, the state government was forced to stop Ola cabs operations, following protests by taxi drivers.

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