Why is such leeway to illegality?
Airport taxi stand imbroglio
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Nov 15: The decision taken by the Regiol Transport Authority (RTA) on the complaint against illegal running of a taxi stand outside Lokapriya Gopith Bordoloi Intertiol Airport (LGBIA) complex is violation of the Airport Authority of India’s (AAI) commercial manual writ large. The meeting that took the decision was chaired by none other than Kamrup(M) DC M Angamuthu. The decision reeks of greater leeway to one of the two parties against which the complaint was lodged.
The Borjhar Tourist Cab Association (BTCA) did lodge a complaint before the Kamrup(M) administration alleging that the Guwahati Airport Taxi Association (GATA) is running an illegal taxi stand outside the airport complex but within the airport premises without following the mandatory tender process. Since the GATA is running the stand illegally, it has no pre-paid counter or booth. The BTCA, on the other hand, has been allotted the taxi stand that has pre-paid counters and booths inside airport complex.
After receiving the complaint from the BTCA, the district administration was conspicuous by its silence for a long time. On May 16, 2016 The Sentinel published a news headlined ‘Taxi Syndicate Flourishing in Guwahati Airport’. What could be called as an immediate follow-up of the news item is the formation of an 11-member committee headed by ADC MN Saikia by the district administration on May 17, 2016 to inquire into the complaint. The core of the complaint is that ‘an illegal taxi stand is being run by the GATA that does not have any counter or booth as it has not been allotted the stand through legal tendering’. However, the committee has not inquired into the alleged illegality in the running of the taxi stand outside the airport by the GATA. It has gone for finding a solution to the issue, and while doing that it seems to have given greater leeway to the alleged illegal cab syndicate, GATA, at the cost of the interest of the BTCA that has got the allotment of the stand inside the airport complex by following the honest-to-goodness process of tendering. It was on October 25, 2016 the RTA held a meeting with Angamuthu in the chair. In utter surprise to all concerned, the meeting took a decision to allot the two taxi stands, one inside the airport complex and the other outside it, altertely for a period of a year. The BTCA has been asked to operate from the stand outside the airport complex for a year and GATA has been asked to operate from the stand inside the airport complex for a year. The two associations will get the two stands exchanged after every year. “The meeting’s decision reads – the Borjhar Tourist Cab Association, with the help of Dakshin Rani Tourist Association, has been operating from inside the airport for the past few years. They should now operate from outside the airport complex for a year. The Guwahati Airport Taxi Association should operate from inside the airport complex for a year, and the allotment of the two stands will be exchanged between the two parties after every year’.
According to commercial manual of the AAI, Borjhar, allotment of taxi stands inside and outside the airport complex has to be done through the proper process of tendering, and the highest bidder should get the contract. After the publication of news item by The Sentinel on this issue on May 16, 2016, the AAI, Borjhar corroborated the news and said that ‘an uuthorized taxi syndicate is operating from outside the airport complex’.
The BTCA now feels that the decision taken by the RTA meeting headed by Angamuthu is a ‘travesty of justice’ as the core of the complaint has not been inquired properly by the commission. The aggrieved party is taken aback as to why the RTA has given such a leeway to the GATA ‘that has all along been running an illegal taxi syndicate from outside the airport complex without having any prepaid counters or booths’. Thus a question arises: at whose behest has the RTA meeting chaired by Amgamuthu taken the decision which is violative of the AAI manual? This decision is tantamount giving to much leeway to illegalities.
The aggrieved BTCA has lodged another complaint with the Kamrup(M) district administration seeking reconsideration of the decision taken by it.
Now the decision to be taken by the AAI, Borjhar is to be watched keenly.