Shillong: Cab drivers in Meghalaya on Friday decided to approach the high court against the state government’s notification imposing the odd-even system to reduce the traffic congestion in the state capital from June 5.
The East Khasi Hills Local Taxi Welfare Association (EKHLTWA) and the Synjuk Ki Nongniah Taxi Sor bad Khapsor (SNTSK) on Friday met district magistrate of East Khasi Hills, Rosetta Mary Kurbah urging her to review its decision as this, they claimed, would affect the livelihood of the taxi drivers adversely.
However, Kurbah told the cab drivers that the order cannot be revoked and it was in pursuance of the Court’s orders of PIL No.17 of 2021, order dated 16 December, 2021 to adopt immediate measures to ease the traffic in Shillong, particularly around the central business district and the entry and exit points, and another order dated 11 May, 2023 to adopt other forms of regulation to ease congestion on the roads, henceforth, all public transport vehicles (SPTS buses, SSPTS – maxi cabs and black and yellow local taxis) plying from Kachari Point towards Police Bazaar and Motphran are to operate on an odd-even basis.
EKHLTWA General Secretary, Alkwiz John Khabani said the order of the DC is “unacceptable.”
“The order dated June 1 is unacceptable in nature because taxis not only generate employment but contribute as well towards the revenue of the state,” he said.
Acknowledging the traffic congestion problem in the state capital, Kharbani said that in a democratic set up nothing is impossible through dialogue and discussions.
“Nothing is impossible if we work together and try finding a solution to the problem,” Khabani said.
He said the unilateral decision of the office of the Deputy Commissioner without mutual consultation with the association has given rise to objections.
Citing the example of New Delhi in which a similar experiment was undertaken to reduce pollution, Kharbani pointed out that even in New Delhi the government exempted public transport from the purview of the odd-even system.
Justifying the association’s objection to the order passed by the Deputy Commissioner, he said, not being able to ply on the Police Bazaar-Motphran (Bara Bazaar) route daily would affect the drivers financially.
“Motphran-Police Bazaar is the end point…. and therefore is like the oxygen for the drivers,” Kharbani said while urging the Kurbah to immediately review its order.
As per the order, vehicles having registration numbers ending with odd digits (1,3,5,7,9) are to ply only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and vehicles having registration numbers ending in even digits (0,2,4,6,8) are to ply only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, even as such restriction will not apply on Sundays.
“Furthermore, every vehicle should only bear a High Security Registration Plate (HSRP) and a copy of the vehicle’s registration certificate should be made available for inspection at any given time. Anyone found driving with tampered number plates shall be dealt with strictly in accordance with relevant provisions of the law, including revocation of driver’s license,” the order cautioned.