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After court order on Kolkata cabs, 'alternative' arrangements planned

West Bengal,Business/Economy,Immigration/Law/Rights, Sat, 31 Mar 2012 IANS

Kolkata, March 31 (IANS) Taxis are set to become scarce in Kolkata from Sunday following a Calcutta High Court order that cabs should mandatorily have tamper-proof digital meters with printers. The West Bengal government has said it is planning an 'alternative arrangement' for commuters.


The Calcutta High Court Friday refused to extend the deadline for cabs to apply for tamper-proof digital meters. It said that taxis which do not apply for digital meter printers by Saturday would not be allowed on the roads from Sunday.


"We will abide by the order of the Calcutta High Court. We have no option but to obey the order of the court," state Transport Minister Madan Mitra told IANS.


The high court, pointing out that enough time had been given to comply with its earlier order, refused to entertain pleas by the Bengal Taxi Association and the Calcutta Taxi Association for extending the date.


The Calcutta High Court had, in September last year set a six-month deadline for all taxis in the metropolis to install tamper-proof meters with a built-in printer which can provide fare bills mentioning the vehicle number, distance travelled, name of the driver and his contact details.


A division bench of the court then asked the Transport Department to ensure that all taxis complied with its order.


According to the minister, only 15 percent of the cabs currently have digital meter printers.


"Kolkata has about 45,000 taxis," Mitra informed.


It is now feared that a major chunk of these cabs might go off the roads from Sunday, leading to hassles for commuters.


Asked what would be the government's steps to confront the situation, Mitra said, "The government will soon come out with an alternative arrangement."


He, however, declined to divulge details on the arrangement.


"We will surely ensure safety and comfort for the people of the city," he averred.


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