Only those who are well versed in Marathi and have been living in the state for at least 15 years will be given new taxi licences as per a decision taken by the Congress-NCP government, reported Times of India.
The decision gives a new dimension to migrant politics in the state, for new migrants will not be able to get taxi permits now, said report.
Nevertheless, government made it clear that taxi drivers already having permits and valid licence would not be affected by the decision, said report.
The decision was taken taken a meeting of the state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
“It has been decided that henceforth licences will be issued to only those taxi drivers who have been a resident of the state for at least 15 years and can read and write Marathi,” an official from the Chief Minister’s office was quoted as saying.
The decision received quick criticism with secretary of the Bombay Taximen’s association AL Quadros terming it as unacceptable and politically motivated, said report.
A sizeable section of over 2 lakh taxi drivers in Mumbai consists of migrants from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Uttarakhand. About 4,000 new taxi permits are given each year.
“There is an attempt to make it (taxi services) an organised sector. The drivers should know Marathi, read Marathi and write Marathi. Such is the proposal of the government,” Chavan was quoted as saying while talking to reporters.
MNS chief Raj Thackeray had been in the forefront of an anti-migrant campaign in the state last year and had come in for severe criticism from several political parties.