Core panel to resolve Goa’s tourist taxi problems

Panaji, March 11: Even as violent scuffles between taxi drivers and foreign tourists and tour operators threaten to dampen Goa’s tourism party, the state government has formed a core committee to resolve the stand-off, an official said Tuesday.

The committee headed by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and having ministers for tourism and transport also includes taxi union members and legislators from Goa’s coastline, which is popular with tourists thanks to the beaches, restaurants and night clubs.

“The core committee will look into the complaints of the taxi unions about illegal taxi operations and tours illegally organised by foreigners. It will also attempt to streamline the sector,” an official said.

Over 7,000 taxi drivers in Goa went off the road for two days last month in protest against the start up of a privately operated radio cab service in Goa.

The strike was also held in protest against tour and taxi services allegedly being provided illegally by foreigners living in Goa.

The strike and the subsequent violence forced the UK foreign ministry to issue an adverse travel advisory, which asked British tourists who are the second highest in the list of foreign arrivals, to exercise caution while holidaying in Goa.

Goa attracts about three million tourists annually, of whom half a million are foreigners.