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Hospital Dara pick & drop point restored after cabbies’ protest

Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 10:00 [IST]

Last Update: Wednesday, Feb 26, 2020 04:11 [IST]

Hospital Dara pick & drop point restored after cabbies’ protest

GANGTOK: Local taxi service in the capital came to a halt for few hours on Tuesday as local taxi drivers ceased work protesting against the implementation of new traffic regulations which they said hindered daily operations.
Several initiatives undertaken by the traffic police aimed to ease congestion in the capital roads irked the local taxi drivers associations. They said the prime pick and drop points at Hospital Dara were removed by the traffic police causing hardships for both commuters and taxi drivers. Removal of the landmark taxi stop since several years prompted the drivers launch a protest bringing traffic movement to a halt.
With local taxis off the road and hordes of passengers waiting to get a taxi and the drivers up in arms, Urban Development minister Arun Upreti reached the protest spot at Titanic Park to assess the situation. He held a meeting with the drivers association representatives along with Sikkim Police officials.
The minister assured the drivers for coming out with amicable solution in consultation with the drivers association, traffic police and authorities concerned in near future.
Emerging from the meeting, minister Upreti said the traffic problem in the capital is increasing on a daily basis and the State government has been taking numerous steps to address the issue with a view to facilitate ease of traffic in the capital.
“The initiatives carried out by the traffic police are not to harass the drivers or the commuters. Henceforth, we will make sure that a prior coordination meeting is held involving all the stakeholders with respect to initiating major changes to decongest the traffic in near future. As of date, the earlier practice will continue without disturbing the day to day routine of the taxis or the commuters,” the minister expressed.
Commenting on hefty fines for traffic violations as per the recent Central Motor Vehicle Act, the minister maintained that the legislation has been extended to the State as it was made mandatory by the Centre government and the Supreme Court of India. “The fines involved under the new CMV Act are hefty but the intention is good as it aims road safety and curtails road accidents. Keeping of vehicle documents is must as it is the main document required during claiming of insurance if any mishaps takes place. I request the drivers and their associations to keep a close eye on the upkeeping of their vehicles documents as this not only safeguards the interest of the drivers but also of the passengers and the owner too,” said Upreti assuring to hold a coordination meeting at the earliest and resolve the same in a phased manner.
Ruling SKM-affiliate Chalak Morcha vice president Chungchung Bhutia said the immediate issue raised today was the removal of pick and drop point at Hospital Dara which he said was very unwelcoming as the traffic police without prior intimation took the move.
“We are open for any discussion and we have been extending all necessary support in decongesting the traffic in the capital but if the action or trial initiated by the traffic is discussed well in time then no such situation would have come. This is not the first such trial as in the past also the traffic police removed similar points from Tadong which also created havoc amongst the drivers operating taxis and the commuters.  The imposition of fines have been very hefty these days for petty offences too, we the taxi drives earn very limited money by operating taxis and serving the commuters in the State and the fine imposed are really heavy. We request the government and the traffic police to consider the same,” said Bhutia.

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi