Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Indefinite bandh by taxi operators cripples tourism industry

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Indefinite bandh by taxi operators of Manali has left thousands of tourists confined to their hotels as all taxi drivers and taxi unions have decided to agitate against the government for its decision to stop movement of all vehicles older than for years on Manali-Rohtang road following orders from Himachal High Court.
Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union, the largest taxi union of the state, has locked its office situated in Manali on Tuesday. The union which claims to have support from all other taxi unions of the state has decided not to give their services to tourists until restriction of four years is not lifted from all the vehicles. Now tourists visiting Manali would have to return back without seeing Rohtang pass (snow point), Manikaran and all other tourist spots of Kullu. Also, service on Manali-Leh, Manali-Delhi and all small and long routes would be paralyzed from Wednesday.
Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union president Puran Chand Thakur said most of the taxis in Manali and other parts of the state are older than four years and stopping them from offering their service on Rohtang Pass road would affect the livelihood of thousands of families. “Thousands of youths are generating self-employment by running taxis. We have learnt that the ban would not be imposed on government vehicles. Why this bias decision? We are left with no other way than to protest for our rights,” he said.
An emergency meeting between taxi operators, hoteliers, beopar mandal and over 25 torism organizations and representatives of panchayats. The decision to shut down taxi service was taken after long discussion between them. Taxi operators are concerned about the bank loans and its repayment as Rohtang is the main tourist spot of Manali. Thakur said if their demands are not fulfilled till June 21, the peaceful agitation may turn furious. “We don’t want to ruin the tourism and irritate the tourists. But we are tired of requesting government and this is the only way to secure our future,” he added.
Meanwhile, thousands of tourists who are staying in Manali and who would be arriving Manali in next few days may have to disappoint if the bandh will not come to an end. The tourists will have to stay in the hotels and those coming to Manali or leaving Manali will have to carry their luggage themselves to reach the bus stands.

Associations warns of boycott in Lok Sabha by-election
Manali: Taxi operators, hoteliers, beopar mandals, panchayat representatives and other organizations linked to tourism industry have warned that if their demands are not heard till June 21, they would boycott the Lok Sabh byelections on June 23.  Kullu-Manali Paryatan Vikas Manch president Anup Thakur, under whose chairmanship another meeting was called here, said  a memorandum has been forwarded to chief minister to approach Supreme Court in fovor of the locals. “If government fails to take an appropriate step till June 21, we shall boycott the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

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