GANGTOK, 25 Feb:
Vehicular traffic in the capital was disrupted briefly this morning following a strike called by taxi drivers in response to the removal of the taxi stop at Hospital Dara near Urban Development and Housing Department.
As angry drivers came out on the road, UDHD Minister, ArunUprety reached the spot to intervene and bring the situation under control. The Minister assured the taxi drivers that the stop will continue to function as usual and the drivers will be informed the next time a new initiative to ease traffic congestion is planned.
Drivers on protest said that they were not informed or consulted about the removal of the taxi stop and they came to know about it today. They said that the Hospital Dara stop caters to government employees and public who need to travel to the Secretariat and Public Works Department at Zero Point and removing this stop will create a lot of problems.
“We were not consulted regarding this decision and were directly served an order today. So we decided to take similar action and call a strike on the spot,” said Sikkim KrantikariMorchaChalakMorchapresident, Chung Chung Bhutia.
He added that the Traffic police has been removing taxi stops in other places in Gangtok in the past few days.
At the same time, the taxi drivers also brought up the issue of fines under the new Motor Vehicle Act where they said that the fine amounts are exorbitant and the traffic police should offer relaxation in some cases.
Speaking to media persons, UDHD Minister, MrUprety said that the initiative was taken by the Traffic Police to address traffic congestion problems in the State but taxi drivers have expressed their dissatisfaction on the initiative so the taxi stand will be continue to function as usual.
Responding to queries on taxi driver’s dissatisfaction over the enhanced traffic fines, MrUprety said these fines have been implemented under the Central Motor Vehicle Act for the security of passengers. However, he assured to review fines of the State government, if there were any, and provide some reliefto the drivers.