Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Sunday, March 04, 2007

grounded

the airports of mumbai and delhi are privatised.
read here and here.

protests have been documented here and here.

this matter is just under 2 years old. so why do i bring this out here...

was picking a friend from the airport last evening and in the taxi queue there were these private guards shepherding waiting passengers into taxis.as most may have experienced in stations and airports, the autos and taxis grumble endlessly at short haul trips.so same thing here as well, the taxi wallah refused to take us. i would not take this anymore. asked for his badge number and one solid ego battle was brewing.thankfully a cop walks in and defuses the situation. we get in and i ease it up by wishing him happy holi and apologising for losing it. he was angry at the security guards (private ones appointed by the GVK group). he had a lot of claims. very interesting and thought provoking

1. entire airport area manned by private guards who have no training and authority run the queues and are already corrupted.
2. cop presence at bare minimum. no one to enforce the law.
3. typical wait times are 8-10 hours for a taxi guy to get a passenger.
4. GVK has already decreased the taxi parking slot from 500 to 160. the plan is to convert the balance place to pay and park which is certainly much more revenue.
5. he said most of them have no problem with the journey distance as in net net state, they balance out (classic coin toss probability stuff). he says they get the short straw because of points 1 to 4.

general data points - around 55000-60000 taxis in mumbai. 4 or 5 difference taxi unions. this, in my estimate would be the livelihood for around 75000 families (as many taxis are on double shifts). that's over 4 lakh people whose lives depend on taxi travel.

while there are some taxiwallahs who do pure scum things (like in most other trades), the usual issues around privatisation are into play here as well in a totally different manner.

watch this space.

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