PANAJI: Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant on Monday said the state government was firm on its decision that the striking tourist taxi operators either join the app-based cab service or have a similar facility of their own.
Tourist taxi operators in the state launched an agitation on Friday, seeking scrapping of the app-based cab service 'Goa Miles', backed by the state-run Goa Tourism Development Corporation.
The taxi unions on Sunday said they would wait for the government to respond positively to their demand till Wednesday, after which they would come forward to relinquish their permits.
Sawant told reporters outside the state Assembly complex on Monday that the government would not go back on its stand over the issue.
"We have not asked them to surrender their permits.
They should either join 'Goa Miles' or we will help them to design their own app," the chief minister said.
He said the tourist taxi operators can join the app on a three-month trial, during which they will be assured minimum income.
"If they feel it is not feasible, then after three months we can take a call," Sawant said.
State Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar said the tourism industry was suffering because of the unregularised taxi services for visitors.
"Heavy tariffs charged by taxi owners is one of the reasons why tourism is not picking up the pace in the state, he said.
The ongoing strike by tourist taxi operators has also slightly affected the industry, he said, but expressed hope that things will settle within a couple of days.
"We are providing all the required support to tourists who are facing difficulties because of the taxi strike, he said.