Guwahati: Commercial vehicle associations have decided to stage a ‘road blockage’ program along Assam’s border on October 29 in protest against the neighbouring Northeastern states for restricting the entry of cabs from Assam to enter their states citing the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commercial drivers of the state as well as the taxi associations are furious with the administration of the neighbouring states of Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, among other which have barred the entry of vehicles from Assam into their respective states.
Every vehicle which passes through Assam’s border are required to undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing at the entry points and are asked to pay an amount for the results. And then they are allowed to enter upon testing negative for the virus. To enter Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh, drivers are charged Rs 500 from drivers.
“We have approached our state transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary before and he assured us of taking up the matter with Arunachal and Meghalaya governments. However, the scenario has not changed, we still face problems while crossing our borders,” said Ismail Ali, president of All Assam Cab Operators Union while speaking to EastMojo.
Ali mentioned that upon getting assurances from the Assam government, they had earlier suspended their ‘road blockage’ program which was scheduled on October 7 but they are yet to see any relaxation in the rules owing to COVID-19 restrictions in state borders.
With no such curtailment in effect while entering Assam, the drivers feel that they are at a disadvantage and it has also hampered their livelihood.
“We are targeted at Meghalaya borders, only because we come from Assam. We are made to wait for 6-7 hours at Byrnihat, our entire day gets spend only on a single trip through Meghalaya. It has heavily affected our trade,” added Ali.
“We have received support from 40 organisations across Assam as we plan to block different entry gates of Assam. A meeting was held today at Dudhnoi, Goalpara and we intend to block every entry point from Byrnihat to the Tura gate at Goalpara, Barak valley, and others as well” informed Ali.
The taxi associations have also stated their reservations against the Ola and Uber operators for removing incentives which has further made a dent to their earnings as an integral part of the transport trade. Cab drivers used to earn about 200 per cent incentive over they the amount they used to earn per trip which has reduced to merely 25- 30 per cent per trip.