Taxi attacked, stranded with a ten-month-old, a woman lawyer narrates ordeal
A mother on her way to meet a doctor with her ill child, just ten months old, had a harrowing experience when her taxi was attacked and she was left stranded in the city of Kozhikode.
"Which place is this? Mumbai or Kozhikode? What has happened to the soft spoken Kozhikode people? Where is all the hospitality, if this is how this city works how can anyone hire a mango taxi, asks Priyanka Sreekanth, an advocate who is still not out of the shock she went through.
Ever since the online taxi service Mango cabs have been launched I have relied on it heavily for my travel needs. Cheap and affordable, it is believed to be very safe, says Priyanka. Priyanka's relationship with Kozhikode dates back to her LLB days when she studied at the Law College in the district. Later, she married Adv. Sreekanth who is also from Calicut.
Priyanka says she hired the cab on Tuesday after she saw a press note in the newspaper from the cab provider saying the differences between the private cab service provider and the local taxi union has been amicably settled through discussions.
On Tuesday Priyanka hired a cab to go from Parambil Bazar to Christian College area to consult a pediatrician. When she was walking towards the doctor's place she noticed a few men approach the mango cab that was waiting for her.
She was surprised to see the taxi gone by the time she returned. When she called up on the phone number of the driver someone else picked up the phone and told her that they were from the taxi union. They also rudely asked her to hire another taxi and told the mango cab was a fake taxi. They also told her that the cab has been confiscated.
" I stood fixed on the road side till my husband arrived”, Priyanka said. After her husband arrived she registered a complaint with the police control room. The Nadakkavu police reached the spot and took her and her child to the police station to register the complaint.
" I was lucky because my husband was in the town and I could get help. What if the situation was otherwise? What if it was an elderly or challenged passenger?", asks Priyanka. She also said she cannot accept any justification for the action of the taxi union which treats people so callously and tarnished the goodwill of a place like Calicut.
The mango cabs charge Rs.150-200 for the same distance that the normal cabs would charge Rs.500-600. She also rebutted the claim that the taxis are illegal and said any vehicle that is registered as a transport vehicle can ply passengers and cargo at a charge.
She said as a lawyer she understands what is a legal and illegal taxi. She also said if the taxis were illegal the taxi union must take up the matter legally and not resort to such lawless interferences like kidnapping taxis.
She said she will soon submit complaints to the Chief Minister, Transport Minister and Transport Commissioner and expressed hopes that the unions and the government will sit down together to solve the issue and isolate the people who resort to such hooliganism.
I WAS THREATENED, KIDNAPPED AND MY CAR WHEELS DEFLATED
(Please do not take photos- I am scared of them- Arun Chandra, mango cab driver)
"I had just dropped a passenger with a baby at the doctor's place when a group of people came and asked me if this was a Mango cab. I said yes and they got into the car and asked me to drive to Palayam,” said the cab driver who refused to identify himself publicly.
"They almost kidnapped me and my car forcing me to drive to Palayam saying the leaders were waiting there", the driver said. He also said his phone was snatched when the passenger called him. When the car reached Tali temple the number of passengers rose to 12 and then they deflated the tyres.
The driver also said that the miscreants were taxi drivers in the city itself. He said they were constantly saying that they have become jobless after the Mango cabs came and this should be stopped.