As part of the nationwide protest called by the 10 central trade unions, CITU affiliated Tamil Nadu Call Taxi Workers Union held a black flag protest highlighting the impact of lockdown on the livelihood of the drivers. “We have written to the State government several letters explaining the plight of the drivers who are daily wage earners and remaining at home since March 25 without any means to earn. But the government did not respond to our demands,” said M Bhoopathi, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Call Taxi Workers Union. He demanded the government to provide Rs 10,000 each to all the drivers who have yellow badges issued by the RTOs and have a permit.
“Majority of the drivers were not members of the welfare board. The government should immediately provide permission to operate the call taxis with all safeguards. The government should postpone payment of EMI, insurance, fitness certificate, road tax and driving license renewal for six months,” he said, demanding the government to withdraw the excise and VAT levied on petrol and diesel. Bhoopathi warned that if the taxis were not allowed to operate, the drivers would die due to starvation rather than COVID. About 200 drivers took part in the protest.