The Opposition Leader during the Question hour in the National Assembly (NA) raised the issue of Taxi business which had been affected by many factors relating to other transport means in the country.
The Opposition Leader (OL) said he had talked to many taxi drivers and received many complaints and discovered many issues faced by the taxi driver.
A stand-out problem faced by the taxi drivers raised was that of the growing number of civil servants who moonlighted as taxi drivers.
According to the taxi drivers this has hugely affecting their business as they are solely dependent on income generated from the taxi fares, while civil servants drove taxis to earn extra income.
The OL said out of 4974 taxis as of January 2012, 3372 are in the western region which does not indicate an equitable development in the nation.
The capital city Thimphu has people complaining that there are more than enough taxis but in the eastern parts of the country people still face problems because of very less number of it. Some places in the remote gewogs don’t have the service at all.
The Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC) minister, Lyonpo, Nandalal Rai clarified to his best. He said that, Thimphu alone has around 3536 taxis which at average is one taxi for every 20 people in Thimphu.
The tourists who entered Bhutan from India came with hired private vehicles from as far as Cooch Behar, Falakata and Sikkim which has affected the taxi business in Bhutan.
Responding to the question of Indian tourist bringing their private vehicles into the country, the MOIC minister said we have to maintain the relationship with the Indian government which has been very supportive to Bhutan for many generations.
“They have been our guardian and a good friend so we have to maintain the friendship,” said the information and communications minister.
The Lyonpo said this may affect us in long run, “though it may not in short period of time”.
Lyonpo Nandalal said the taxi Tshogpa should come up with a strong idea discussing with the members of the taxi Tshogpa. “Then only we can give them the legal entity for such issues,,” he said.
The OL also said that it was more important to have addressed the entry of Indian private vehicles brought in by the Indian tourists than to introduce the Pedestrian day, which according to him was an unnecessary law.