RSTA: The Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa (DNT) has called the introduction of the Taxi Operating Permit (TOP) a “policy of social injustice” and requested the government to reconsider the decision.

TOP is a permit issued to taxi owners by the Road safety and Transport Authority (RSTA), without which they will not be allowed to drive around as taxis.

A press release from the party states that this new policy is likely to come into effect from March 1, 2016.

The DNT states that the reasons given by authorities for implementing these rules are to reduce the number of taxis in order to reduce congestion, identify and reduce misbehavior by taxi drivers, prevent civil servants from driving taxi among others.

“Obviously, this policy will allow only those who can afford to buy a taxi and not the ones who are supporting their families by running a hired taxi; almost 60 percent of taxi operators currently do not own one,” states the release.

TOP will immediately affect the livelihoood of these operators and their dependents.

“DNT seriously doubts if this measure will fulfill the objective of the government.” It stated that DNT could not find any justification or a need-based analysis done but the concerned authorities to prove that TOP is the most efficient method to decongest our roads and to reduce such-crimes.

DNT stated it is concerned that it will unnecessarily widened the gap and create social injustice. Such requirement it stated, is creating gap between rich and poor through unfair means, and this is social injustice.

“We believe that people are not against inequality but people are against unjust inequality – inequality created through social injustice.”

The DNT has requested the concerned authorities to kindly consider a re-look into the matter. “We will be more than happy to participate in any discussion related to it,” reads the news release.

MB Subba