PUNE: The State transport department has set October 31 as the deadline for all taxis to install speed governors. The Sarathi Seva Sangh has threatened to launch a nation-wide protest, if the Centre fails to roll back the decision regarding speed governors. Members of taxi associations from Pune organised a demonstration on Tuesday, seeking a rollback of the government’s decision regarding the mandatory installation of speed governors.
They warned that the agitation would spread across the State, if the government fails to address this issue. The issue has already triggered protests in Mumbai.
“Why build roads like the Pune-Mumbai Expressway? If the speed limit is set at 80 kmph, vehicles will not be able to go beyond the speed of 80 kmph. Earlier, when roads were bad, it used to take nearly 20 hours to travel to Bengaluru from Pune. After the construction of good roads, the time has reduced to 12-14 hours. Now, with the speed governors being installed, the time taken will again increase to 20 hours. This will hit our pockets hard,” said Sachin Markale, Secretary of the Sarathi Seva Sangh, one of the taxi associations.
“It is a regressive decision. There are several problems, including the high cost of speed governors. Also, companies manufacturing them don’t provide warranty. Moreover, RTO officials have said that clearance will not be given to vehicles that don’t have governors. We will make losses, if the equipment is installed,” Markale said.
Incidentally, taxis had initially escaped the ambit of this rule. Following an order of the Karnataka High Court in February 2016, the transport ministry in the State notified that all commercial vehicles must get the governors installed. At that time, taxis were exempted.
However, the exemption was challenged and the high court struck down the plea, stating that the exemption was illegal. At present, 35,000 taxis operate in and around the city.
Pune RTO Babasaheb Ajri made it clear that taxi owners are free to install the equipment from anywhere they wanted to.
“They are free to choose the company or the make. Our concern is whether the equipment is installed in the vehicle or not. If not, then the vehicle will not be given a fitness certificate. It is a rule and one has to follow it,” Ajri said.