Fliers at the city airport can breathe easy, the number of touting incidents has by gone down by more than half over the past six months. The reason for this is the implementation of the coupon system for pre-paid taxi booking, the police said.
As per police records, earlier, the average number of touts booked at the airport used to be around 30-35 per month. “The numbers have definitely gone down by half since the introduction of the (coupon) system,” said assistant commissioner of police (airport division) Madhukar Sankhe.
In August, Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the operator of the city airport, in consultation with the traffic police initiated a system by which a passenger booking a pre-paid cab was given the number of the cab in which s/he would travel. Though the initiative went down well with most taxi drivers, security agencies and passengers, certain sections of cabbies resisted the move.
The initiative was enforced following a long list of cases, wherein fliers, including many foreigners, landing at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport were robbed of their cash and valuables, drugged or exorbitantly charged by touts or cab drivers. Officials said incidents like these created a bad perception in the minds of visitors/tourists about India in general and Mumbai in particular.
Taxi union leader AL Quadros said, “The (number of incidents of) touting was bound to come down because of the new system. However, there is a tendency, at times, of reverting to the old. That shouldn’t happen here and a check must be maintained on the same.”
MIAL, law enforcement agencies and the legal fraternity, however, believe that in order to further curb incidents of touting, the city needs a stricter law, similar to the one in Delhi.
The Delhi Prevention of Touting and Malpractices against Tourists Bill, 2010 provides for a maximum jail term of one year or fine of Rs10,000 or both. The Bill also has the provision for a jail term of six months or fine of Rs5,000 or both for abetting touting or malpractice. The Bill was passed after the murder of a foreigner by touts near Delhi airport.
In contrast, the touts in Mumbai are booked on a less serious charges under the sections of nuisance, which allows for just a small fine.
Less number of touts booked
As per police records, earlier, the average number of touts booked at the airport was around 30-35 per month. “The numbers have definitely gone down by half with the introduction of the (coupon) system,” said a police officer. Taxi union leader AL Quadros also said, “The (number of incidents of) touting was bound to come down because of the new system.”