Why taxi operators are blocking roads leading to Goa’s Mopa Airport

Tax owners, operators demand priority registration for their yellow and black taxis to operate from airport

The protesters are demanding priority registration for their yellow-black taxis to be able to operate from the Mopa airport

Taxi operators from Pernem, Goa have taken to the streets, protesting against the government’s delay in notifying a counter for yellow and black taxis at the Manohar International Airport.

The agitators, mostly locals including those who lost their land to the airport project, on Tuesday (May 2) sought a written assurance from the government on the exact date of notification of the taxi stand. They have escalated the protest by blocking all roads leading to the new airport.

‘Stop Ola, Uber’

The protesters have demanded priority registration for their yellow and black taxis to operate from Mopa airport, besides seeking a separate taxi counter at the place. They have also urged authorities to prevent ride-hailing companies like Ola and Uber from operating at the facility.

Taxi owners and operators from Pernem had requested to be spared of fees or taxes when the government notifies the taxi stand at the airport. However, Goa Transport Minister Mauvin Godinho had rejected the demand.

Many of the protesters who have lost their land due to the airport project claim they have not been provided any jobs and now hope to find a new source of livelihood through the designated yellow and black taxi counter at the airport. They allege that despite several assurances, the government is yet to notify the counter.

Section 144 imposed

To prevent any unauthorised assembly, the North Goa district administration has enforced CrPC section 144 in and around the Manohar International Airport and adjacent villages for two months.

The decision was taken following a call by locals who lost their land to the airport project to block the roads leading to the airport. The airport was inaugurated in December 2022 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

District Collector Mamu Hage stated in the order released on Tuesday (May 2) that the police had alerted them about protests staged by ‘Together for Pednekars’, consisting of those who lost their land for the airport in Pernem taluka and citizens from Mopa, Warkhand, Nagzar, and Chandel.

‘Protesters may cause disruptions’

In the order, the North Goa superintendent of police, said that the protesters may cause disruptions to traffic flow and create a law-and-order situation on the road from the Manohar International Airport to Sukhekulan Junction at Dhargal by gathering in large numbers at the Nagzar sports ground.

Additionally, the order stated that in light of the upcoming G20 meeting in Goa, any activities by the protesters may obstruct the movement of vehicles, causing inconvenience to the general public.

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As a result, the SP North requested the imposition of section 144 of CrPC on the route leading from the Mopa airport to Sukhekulan junction at Dhargal.

The order also imposed the section within a 500-meter radius of the Manohar International Airport and in the villages of Nagzar, Varkhand, Uguve, Chandel-Hassapur, and Casarvanem. The collector declared that the order would be in effect for the next 60 days.