Addressing media persons at Kohima, Chumbem B. Yanthan, the leader of the group of 13 two-wheeler taxi riders of Kohima, said the legalisation of two-wheeler taxi service in Kohima in particular and Nagaland in general can create jobs for the unemployed youth without any expenditure from the government’s coffers.
Yanthan said though there is no clause under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 that mentions about two-wheeler taxi regulatory guidelines, Section 72 and 73 of the Act provides “competency” to the states to issue stage carriage permit for two-wheeler taxi service after scrutinising its feasibility and applicability.
He said after a youth gets his two-wheeler registered with the transport authority, the government can initiate personality and basic skill training for quality service.
Yanthan said a proposal to legalise two-wheeler taxi service was submitted to the Regional Transport Authority in Kohima on July 7 last year after analysing the traffic jam in the state capital and to promote self-employment among local youth for income generation.
He said the Nagaland State Transport (NST) department authorities accepted the proposal and assured of exploring possibilities for the service. The proposal was also approved by NST minister P. Paiwang Konyak, he added.
On the basis of the proposal submitted and guidelines secured from the Mizoram State Transport department, regulatory guidelines for Nagaland two-wheeler taxi service had also been drafted by the NST department officials, he stated.
Yanthan said the department drafted taxation chart for the two-wheeler taxis and got clearance from the state finance department.
He stated that though the department was ready to issue a notification through the government gazette on the service, no official declaration was made so far.
Yanthan claimed that a draft notification was even witnessed by one of the applicants.
However, it was found that the NST department could not issue the notification since there is no particular section in the MVA, 1988 that mentions about two-wheeler taxi, he said.
“The competency provided to a state under Section 72 and 73 of the MVA, 1988 was hence deliberately neglected,” the group of 13 riders said.
They said the department the NST department, after pursuing the proposal for nine months, on April 16 verbally communicated to them that the file regarding legalisation of two-wheeler taxi service had been quashed.
According to them, nowhere in the MVA, 1988, two-wheeler taxi was mentioned as illegal.
They feel that there is absolute possibility to draft regulatory guidelines on two-wheeler taxi service and implement it based on Section 72 and 73, MVA, 1988 with the support of the state government.
Legalising two-wheeler taxi service could add revenue to the Nagaland State Transport department, the group said.
However, they lamented that since the NST department is not interested to take the two-wheeler taxi service seriously and implement it, the matter has reached a point where the government can term the service illegal and ban it, which has been flourishing and enabling faster movement of citizens in Kohima town in the past few months.
Even as the NST department had quashed the two-wheeler taxi legalisation proposal, the group of 13 two-wheeler taxi riders has come together after physically experiencing the feasibility and applicability of the facility to seek public support and once again request the state government to legalise the service.
The 13 two-wheeler taxi riders, belonging to different Naga tribes, stated that they started the two-wheeler taxi service in Kohima in July 2018.
The fare of two-wheeler taxi service ranges from Rs 50 to Rs 120 depending on the distance of the travel.
As safety measures, the two-wheeler taxi riders provide helmets to passengers and raincoats during rain. They are also planning to introduce uniform for “proper identification” of the riders soon.