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Church body joins chorus against GTDC's Goamiles app

10th August 2018, 04:42 Hrs



PANAJI
The Centre for Responsible Tourism (CRT) on Thursday joined the ranks of the critics of Goamiles the mobile app-based taxi services of the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) saying it is "another proof" that locals are left with only the crumbs of Goa's tourism pie.
In a statement issued on Thursday, CRT said, "The highly advertised app-based service as an initiative under the aegis of GTDC is in fact entirely operated and managed by a Pune-based private enterprise Frotomiles Private Limited."
CRT is an initiative of the Goa Catholic Church's social outreach arm Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) intended to organize shack operators, taxi associations, small and medium guest houses and hotels and protect the livelihoods of people in these sectors.
Referring to the boisterous reaction of taxi operators at the airport on the day the app-based service was launched, CRT in-charge Fr Freddy Braganza alleged that the Pune-based company clearly lacks credible experience to manage a taxi system in Goa as the operations are tuned to cater only to the tourism industry.
Goamiles was launched on Monday by Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar at the State Secretariat but the event seemingly triggered turf wars almost instantly with angry reactions from taximen operating at the Dabolim airport.
The chasm between the government and a significant section of the taxi drivers is showing no signs of reducing although GTDC chairman, Nilesh Cabral has extended an open invitation to the opponents to talk across the table and sort out their issues.
Fr Braganza who issued the statement on behalf of CRT, meanwhile, faulted the GTDC for engaging private enterprises which have no understanding and experience as to how it will impact the local stakeholders.
"GTDC used exactly the same strategy when women-driven taxis were introduced. It was owned and operated by Green Earth Translogistics Pvt Limited, a company specialized in warehousing and road transportation," the CRT statement added.
"If tourism is deemed as development by the government than this is clearly anti-development, anti-people. GTDC has moved in the interests of corporates and not in favour of the local operators," the CRT statement issued by Fr Braganza said.
"At this stage, it clearly is a battle between the people and big industry," CRT said, and urged the government to remain committed to the service of common people, engage with the taxi owners and drivers to assist them to introduce their own app-based service.