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Old 21st July 2015, 18:08   #211
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

This is absolutely appalling. So glad none of you'll were seriously injured and are alright. I was just telling my dad the other day we should go on a long road trip to Ladhak. This has completely changed my mind.


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Just got information that Scooter and Moped rentals have been banned in Hampi. This is done by the local traffic cops so that the Auto wallahs can sustain their business. And what about the scooter rental business? And What about the freedom of choice in the alleged Indian "democracy" ?

With incidents like this, the implementation of the Life Tax rule by Karnatak and Telangana, and what Exhaust Note said, it seems like our right to freedom of movement is slowly being curbed.
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Old 21st July 2015, 18:41   #212
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Default Re: If not Ladakh, what are the options?

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Frankly, just because of this one episode i would not stop travelling to Ladakh nor would recommend others to stop going there. The taxi union does stop you at Karu checkpost and warns you not to take your self drive rented car to Pangong. You can switch over to bikes or travel or take a local taxi. We did the same along with couple of other folks whom we met who had driven in rental cars like zoom or myles. Even when we were there, one Zoom car owner tried to play smart and its rear windshield was damaged. For now driving self drive rented cars till Ladakh would not be an issue. But you would not be able to use them for local sightseeing and would need to switch to Taxi.
Let's leave aside the Ladakh incident for the time being. Instead, let's look at the ban on self drives. Or for that matter, bike rentals.

I'm not sure what you mean by trying to play smart. The fact that you can hire a car from anyone and drive it yourself? What if metros like Bangalore and Bombay start banning self drive cars next?

Due to limitations (financial, parking space availability, family related reasons), etc many people would like to drive down in a self driven rented car to locations across India. For example, I live in Bombay, where the parking space usually ends up costing more than a VW Vento. Even if I'm willing to shell out that money, I'm most likely not going to be allotted a second parking space due to shortage.

Now the matter of bike rentals. I would rather fly down to Delhi or Chandigarh (because it saves me time/effort) and rent a bike from there. This will help me have the best of worlds. Why should I have to skip the bike road from there on just so that I have to go by someone's unwritten rules?

What's wrong if I keep a small hatchback for the inter-city traffic and rent a self drive SUV for long distance travels? I would rather pay the rent for a self driven Scorpio or Fortuner than own it. This model is possible everywhere across the world, but not in India?

I have used rental cars across the world (where I was an outsider, a non-native on a business/tourist visa), but I've never faced this kind of discrimination except in my own place of birth. In the country of which I'm a citizen. SO I do not agree with this school of thought.

Will I be beaten up at every tourist spot across India if I choose to rent a self drive? Or do I have to hire rickety smelly cabs with uncouth drivers every time I'm at such places? What's the point of having access to an ever increasing highway network if you just can't drive down in a vehicle of your choice?

Last edited by anilp : 21st July 2015 at 18:42.
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Old 21st July 2015, 19:17   #213
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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We visit remote cultures not to study or experience them but to fulfill our need to consume more (travel experience) and boost our ego (announce in our social circle "I travel off the beaten track, unlike you!"). We never give a thought to how our actions are going to have a ripple effect on the simple culture of these remote places. A simplistic culture is like a sponge and will absorb everything new that it observes around. Please study local culture before traveling to such places and try to ensure you leave minimal footprint. It is great to travel and take in the positive energies of these untouched places. Use it to cleanse your spirit but please don't leave your negative energies there. Cheers!
An excellent point, if borderline OT - but very skillfully expressed and compelling. Agree 110%. I came to Manali in 2005 (also visited Ladakh at that time), and there's a world of difference now vs. then, almost all of it for the worse, and the overwhelming majority of it due to a flood of careless outside influences (and I have to always remember that I am potentially one of those influences).

-Eric
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Old 21st July 2015, 20:13   #214
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Wow! that's some story. It reminds me of the Top Gear team being attacked in Argentina during their Patagonia Special filming. At least they fuelled the mob over the Falklands row. How on earth can some people just attack outside travellers and get away with it. Something serious needs to be done. This news should get public attention across India.

Regarding the topic, I'm wondering what will happen if this inspire local taxi drivers of other tourist spots as well. From what I heard before, you can't enter in Darjeeling in a taxi from outside. They will not allow it. You'll have to take a local cab to use in Darjeeling. But attacking this many cars, specially when they are not all taxis, is a terrible thing.

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Old 21st July 2015, 22:19   #215
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This needs serious escalation. Sharing it on our personal social media accounts is a good idea.
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Old 21st July 2015, 23:22   #216
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This is simply outrageous!! Stopping rental cars is still understandable(though not in complete agreement) but stopping and attacking private vehicles is taking things to the extreme. If this trick of the locals works out, no wonder they will come up with rental motorcycles and would be stopping even the bikers from driving their own machines. Imagine one of us riding till Leh on our own bike and then pillion riding on a rental for sightseeing. I was planning this dream trip sometime in September but this has put me on back foot.
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Old 21st July 2015, 23:37   #217
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There was another similar case when a group of 20 trekkers were harassed by the the All Ladhak Tour Operators Association (ALTOA) and were demanded a sum Rs.50000/- from the hikers. To read the whole incidence please go through the template below as this case was reported by TOI.
http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Tour...w/42672313.cms

So this is not the first time this type of act of hooliganism has taken place. It has already happened & has also flashed in the media.

Last edited by vdm : 21st July 2015 at 23:39.
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Old 21st July 2015, 23:40   #218
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I have been following this thread since day one, and wow some of the members here have a very distinctive feeling about it. I would definitely not go to Leh on my Car or Bike as I love them to be harmed because of some narrow minded people who think they can scare and get the money out. Damn it to them, they wont get any penny from me.

We being citizen of India have the right to roam around in any corner of the country by whatever means of transportation we want. Its my money and my comfort which I am concerned, not what others want. I would rather fight back and die rather than giving in to their stupid atrocities which they have created. If they had an objection with Self Rental Vehicles, they should have stopped the car and told them. If the Self Rental Car Drivers were running away, they could have used the Local Police to stop them and penalize them. But who gave them the right to Damage the Property, or being physical with the cars or the occupants. God forbid if any one would have been carrying a Licensed Gun with proper license and used it in self defence, we all would have been accused and even punished easily.

What I would suggest 'ashnd' is to regroup with the whole group who faced this scenario, write an application and then file a case via 'silverwood' who is going to take this up with the court, yes this will be long process but believe me this is going to be very fruitful in long run. Today it has happened in Leh, tomorrow it will be all over Himachal and then will grow more. So why should we drive around if we have to take cab everywhere?

I faced a similar situation in Chitkul, when I along with my brother camped near school ground with my Swift and were challenged by locals. Well thanks to some experience we went to the military post and informed them, so the Men in Uniform warned the Village not to say anything to us, still while returning we got blows of abusive languages from the locals. But we did camp for 4 days and we cooked our own and enjoyed every bit of it. So dont be silent and let it happen, lets leave the "chalta hei attitude and stop changing how others want you to change".
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Old 22nd July 2015, 00:00   #219
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I have posted this on fb and yes it is important for the locals and authorities to know that they are stamping their own foot by doing this. Safety is the primary concern for any tourists and if this is compramised, the tourist location is going to lose its importance. My friends are on the way to Ladakh and we are alerting them to be careful. Thanks for sharing the informarion.
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Old 22nd July 2015, 09:55   #220
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by Dushie
The taxi union does stop you at Karu checkpost and warns you not to take your self drive rented car to Pangong. You can switch over to bikes or travel or take a local taxi.
I would have to humbly disagree with you here, my friend. The catch point is that the Taxi Union has no legal authority to stop any one, and warn any one. That union has to have taxi drivers as members; whose job is to just drive the taxis in a professional way. If the Taxi Union really wants it, and holds such a big clout they should put pressure on the local government & administration to see if a legally valid ban on self-driven rental cars or private vehicles can be brought in. How ever, from what I can understand such a law even if it is made would get thrown out in the court of law. If the current legal framework allows self-driven rental cars, then Taxi Unions will have to bear it. The law enforcement agencies how ever can check to see if private vehicles are plying as taxis (this is quite rampant in many places in India), and take strong action against them.

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We were in Ladkah for over one week and really enjoyed our stay. So probably you should not give up on your trip and should plan on driving down.
I would find it tough to enjoy a place, where I am being taken around like a prisoner and the choice of the vehicle, the rates etc. are taken away from me. A massive propaganda (including on major tourist web sites like http://www.tripadvisor.com) would for sure have a greater impact on tourism in J&K region which the short sighted Taxi Drivers Union would not be able to sense. Once the tourism related revenue dies down, the hotel and resort owner association folks may turn against the taxi union folks.

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Originally Posted by anilp
Will I be beaten up at every tourist spot across India if I choose to rent a self drive? Or do I have to hire rickety smelly cabs with uncouth drivers every time I'm at such places? What's the point of having access to an ever increasing highway network if you just can't drive down in a vehicle of your choice?
Just thinking on a positive note. I feel India is changing big time, and these kind of issues would prop up as part of the change. The growth is very disruptive and very many modes of working, jobs etc. are now at the risk of being extinct. There was a time in India, when a person took up a job it was the job which he would be doing for a life time. But 10-15 years down the line, that job itself is getting obsolete. With a larger group of people finding four wheelers to be affordable, and means to learn driving also becoming aplenty many jobs like Taxi Drivers (intra city or inter city) is going to be severly downgraded or become obsolete. A similar situation exists in Kerala, where head-load union workers demand that people stop using tipper trucks and trucks having small cranes to unload/load the stuff. Tipper trucks etc. are going to stay, they would not go away by hooliganism. Kerala government how ever has given into blackmail, by allowing them to collect money for not doing any job.
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Old 22nd July 2015, 13:15   #221
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

@sachinpk: Completely agree with you. No union, or anyone for that matter, has anything to do with what means of transport other fellow citizens are using. The problem in India is, the law enforcement agencies go soft on these local unions, which ultimately does not give any confidence to general public, to raise any voice against them.
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Old 22nd July 2015, 14:56   #222
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Default Re: If not Ladakh, what are the options?

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And this is why, Gentlemen, mafia's rule all over the country. We should not change our plans, roll over, give Mafia what they want.

As per me, such small incidents should be a trigger for mass boycotts of the region. Mafia problems are not solved by giving in. They just become bigger.

Taxi Mafia first banned Taxis. Next step is self drive rentals. Who knows, next may be private cars. After being "victorious", they will go to the next step.

So its best to boycott Ladakh, and look elsewhere. A few years of lean tourist season will be beneficial for the ecology too.
I completely agree. I think we need to "boycott" travelling to Ladakh (by any means of transportation) and also actively publicize in on all online local and foreign forums/websites.

I just finished a trip to Spiti and Ladakh. I was planning to go in my own Fortuner and had sent it from Mumbai to Chandigarh with a driver who unfortunately met with an accident - the car is still in a workshop in Bhilwara. We managed to arrange for another white number plated Fortuner (not rented) and completed the trip. On the way to Nubra, just 2-3 km outside Leh, there was a Taxi union checkpost with about 4-5 guys manning it. We were driving up and I guess they saw the white number plate and made a few ambiguous gestures at us - maybe to ask us to stop, but thinking that it was not worth it as it was a single vehicle with white number plate. Since there was no definitive attempt from them to stop us, we drove on without stopping. On the way back we saw a convoy of about 8 self drive rental Innovas driven by foreigners stopped at the taxi union check point. We drove on as were were not looking to get into any trouble as our privately owned car, though not rented, was not in our name.

On the way to Pangong or Tso Morriti (or back from there), there was no checking by taxi union guys. Compared to my last self drive trip in 2010, I did find a distinct increase in number of taxis, specially tempo travelers. Another thing which stood out was the driving style of the taxis - while a large majority of them were pretty courteous in their road manners and gave you plenty of room or stopped to let you pass, we were quite taken aback for a few taxi drivers' driving style. We had about 7-8 instances where the taxi drivers kept on driving in the middle of the road at high speed, forcing us to suddenly go off-road to avoid collision and in some cases they kept on coming at us in a narrow road when we were climbing uphill and forced us to reverse to let them pass. I found this pretty "bad road etiquette" and just attributed it to bad driving - now am not sure about it after reading this thread - maybe they were trying to send us a message.

We had very friendly encounters with locals at all the villages and in hotels and restaurants except for one very unpleasant incident right at the end of the trip at Tso Morriri, Karzok.(This is slightly off-topic, so mods please feel free to to delete this part of the post.) Since I was travelling with my wife and daughter (and other couples) I had made advanced bookings with 100% advance payments at all places through Banjara Camps. This was done more than a month in advance and I had no trouble at any of the places with the vouchers Banjara sent me - till we reached Nomadic Life Camp, Korzok. When we reached the camp, a tempo traveler full of foreigners had landed up at the camp about 5 minutes before us (it overtook us as were taking some pictures just before the village). When we reached the camp, the manager, a local woman (we got her name as Tsering Ungmo - aparantly, the wife of the owner - a local of Korzok), said that they have no tents for us (we had reserved 3 "deluxe Safari Tents". I said we have made a reservation more than a month in advance with 100% advance payment. She said that there is no reservation and that they have not received any payment. We showed her the voucher showing the details of the booking but she insisted that she had no tents for us. We understood that since the tempo full of foreigners had just landed up, she wanted to give them the tent at a higher price. At this point we got annoyed and raised our voices saying that how could she give away our tents top some one else, especially as we had made an advance booking one month in advance with 100% payment - we said we will call the authorities. She said "aap log apne sheher mein bade aadmi honge, yahan per aap police bula lo ya kucch bhi kar lo, aap ke liye yahan tent nahin hai (in your city you must be a big man, but here you can call the police, you have no reservation here). We then insisted to see the reservation slip of the foreigners to who she was giving the tents - she said she will not show us their reservations. Since it was raining and cold, and there was no cell phone signal on BSNL or any other mobile, we were not in a mood to relent and had to actually resort to continuous argument and shouting and threatening to disrupt their tents which were all occupied by foreigners - a very unpleasant and unusual experience for us. We also directly asked the foreigners who had landed up to show us if they had any reservations or had just landed up. The assistant at the camp also sided with us telling the "manager" that "madam aap yeh galat kar rahin hai - inka reservation hai aur inko hi tents dijiye" (madam you are wrong, these people have the reservation and you should give these people the tents). This went on for 10 minutes and the foreigners sensing the trouble left the spot and we finally managed to get the tents. This was a very unusual and highly unpleasant experience where we had to resort to shouting and long abusive arguments. If we had reached there after another 10-15 minutes, our tents would have been given away to the foreigners and we would either have had to find alternative accommodation or return to Leh in the night. Since Korzok Monastery was having a festival and lot of foreign photography groups were there, finding alternative accommodation would have been tough.
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Old 22nd July 2015, 15:28   #223
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Default Re: If not Ladakh, what are the options?

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On the way to Nubra, just 2-3 km outside Leh, there was a Taxi union checkpost with about 4-5 guys manning it. We were driving up and I guess they saw the white number plate and made a few ambiguous gestures at us - maybe to ask us to stop, but thinking that it was not worth it as it was a single vehicle with white number plate. Since there was no definitive attempt from them to stop us, we drove on without stopping. On the way back we saw a convoy of about 8 self drive rental Innovas driven by foreigners stopped at the taxi union check point.
Well Ladakh may be the only place where police and government agencies are so spineless to allow an entity (the Taxi Union) with no law enforcement powers to install check posts and even have staff to do the "enforcement" work. What next, the police can also hand over the traffic law enforcement etc. to the Taxi Drivers union representatives. The law and order machinery out here seems to be absolutely useless.
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Old 22nd July 2015, 15:39   #224
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This went on for 10 minutes and the foreigners sensing the trouble left the spot and we finally managed to get the tents. This was a very unusual and highly unpleasant experience where we had to resort to shouting and long abusive arguments. If we had reached there after another 10-15 minutes, our tents would have been given away to the foreigners and we would either have had to find alternative accommodation or return to Leh in the night.
Well, another unfortunate fallout of commercialization I guess, affecting this particular hotelier. Will more hoteliers fall prey, remains to be seen.

If she genuinely did not receive the payment( highly unlikely given the circumstances ) , she should've cross checked first with Banjara Camps, that she did not do, instead of refusing rooms flatly.

I would urge you to post a feedback of this incident on FB and other sites like tripadvisor for Nomadic Life Camp , Korzok, and also to Banjara Camps - they should tie-up with more reliable providers.

I was keen on doing the Ladakh circuit based on the t-bhp travelogues, but then these stories of hooliganism by the taxi union, and then confirmed bookings being refused by hoteliers audaciously saying "do what you can", makes Ladakh much less attractive to me. Visiting a place is a complete package, and not only about scenic beauty.

Last edited by sdp1975 : 22nd July 2015 at 15:57.
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Old 22nd July 2015, 15:42   #225
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Default Re: If not Ladakh, what are the options?

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Well, another unfortunate fallout of commercialization I guess, affecting this particular hotelier. Will more hoteliers fall prey, remains to be seen.

If she genuinely did not receive the payment( highly unlikely given the circumstances ) , she should've cross checked first with Banjara Camps, that she did not do, instead of refusing rooms flatly.

I would urge you to post a feedback of this incident on FB and other sites like tripadvisor for Nomadic Life Camp , Korzok, and also to Banjara Camps - they should tie-up with more reliable providers.
Definitely planning to post on Facebook and TripAdvisor apart from strong feedback to Banjara guys.
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