Chavan backtracks on taxi permits to 'Marathi only plan'

Under fire for his government’s decision to give licenses only to those taxi drivers who know Marathi, Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Thursday backtracked, saying cab drivers should know any local language including Hindi and Gujarati.

In a Raj Thackeray-type move, the Congress-NCP government yesterday decided to give new taxi licenses to only those persons who are well versed in Marathi and have resided in the state for at least 15 years. The government had, however, clarified that existing taxi drivers, who hold a valid license, would not be affected by the decision.

Chavan said, “Cabinet has gone by the Maharashtra Motor vehicles rules which were framed in 1989. As per that rule, for a person to have a permit, 15 years of domicile is compulsory. And the second rule says that for a taxi badge for a driver, working knowledge of local language is necessary. The local language can be Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati..It can include anything…The knowledge of the local language is necessary.”

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