Pramod Sawant. (File Photo: IANS)
Panaji: Strike by the All Goa Taxi Operators Union continued for the second day on Saturday, even as Chief Minister Pramod Sawant assured inbound tourists that his administration was "equipped" to handle the situation.
"Our state administration is equipped to handle matters concerning the tourism industry. I want to assure the tourists visiting Goa that there are adequate intra-state transport arrangements. Tourists, domestic as well as international, are most welcome to Goa!" Sawant tweeted on Saturday.
Earlier in the day, taxi union leader Bappa Korgaonkar was arrested by the Goa Police for allegedly threatening a cab driver working for GoaMiles -- a government appointed cab aggregator service. He was later released on bail.
"The strike will continue until the GoaMiles taxi aggregator service is scrapped by the government. I have been arrested on false charges," Korgaonkar told reporters.
The strike has caused hardships, especially to tourists, many of whom arrived in Goa to spend the long weekend.
Speaking to IANS, Gagan Malik, Airport Authority of India (AAI) airport manager for Goa, said, airlines had been instructed to inform inbound passengers about the taxi strike before they alight from the aircraft.
"We have set up a 24*7 help desk in the airport departure zone. We are also helping passengers download the GoaMiles cab app on their phones to help them access the taxi service," Malik said.
The frequency of airport coaches had also been increased to handle increased passenger volumes, he added. The airport handles nearly 11,000 inbound passengers every day.
Several drivers of 30,000-odd tourist taxis have often been accused of over-charging, intimidating and operating in an unregulated environment.
Several attempts by the state government to implement a fare-meter system have failed. The August deadline set by the high court to install fare meters in Goa's taxis has also not been met.
The Chief Minister had appealed to the striking taxi drivers to end the strike and either join the already-existing cab aggregator service or approach the state government to set up a new cab aggregator service for the taxi union drivers.