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Old 19th July 2015, 12:25   #121
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by johy View Post
On a different note, I must mention Sandakphu in West Bengal here. As many of you have read, more and more people are now going there in their self-driven 4x4s. I am pretty sure one of these days the local Jeep association of whatever they call themselves are going to stop other vehicles from going up there. I know your driving licence, just as mine, allows us to go there and drive, but you know how it is going to end. Sad, but inevitable.
It is not inevitable. The government needs to stop people from taking the law into their own hands. If these jeep people stop and attack outside cars from entering the hills, then the government should haul them up and fine them. If they still do so throw them in jail for 6 months to a year and fine them heavily.

No one should be allowed to take the law into their own hands. We should never condone such illegal behaviour.

Poor people are everywhere in the country and a large majority get by without resorting to violence and accepting that some people can take the law into their own hands just because they are poor is doing a great disservice to the millions of poor people working very hard via legal means to support their families.
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Old 19th July 2015, 13:11   #122
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

This is completely unacceptable! Taxi Union here is acting like an extortion racket here, the local administration seems to be hand in glove with vested interests.

Boycotting the place helps the Taxi union, if self driving BHPians who were supposed to go there in their own/rental cars stop going there. Those taking flights will still be paying through their nose for 20 year old cabs. What next? You cannot carry you own eatables, clothes and other stuff because local shopkeepers need to earn.

There are other good places in Himalayas like the Spiti Valley, Chandertaal, Sach Pass, Zanskar Valley... for those willing to skip Leh for now, and only have option of travelling in rental cars.
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Old 19th July 2015, 13:36   #123
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

Ladakh is off my bucket list for now. While i understand the need for local economy to sustain/grow - that cannot be done by force. And i pay taxes on everything that i buy/use - which i assume would be used for the local development.

However, for the benefit of future - hope the local administration would make sure they do not let register as many number as taxis as they feel like. With advanced technologies around (and they becoming more and more affordable) there should be a method to decide the number of taxis allowed in a particular area and new permits should be allowed only if one of the existing one surrenders the permit or if that needs a renewal (car replacement etc) This would obviously give decent business to each individual and the ones who could not get a permit can try out something else - necessity is the mother of invention, isn't it ?

A similar thing happened in my home town. During the 80s and 90s, a lot of gulf based NRI's decided to buy Ambassador cars on loan and register them on taxi permit. Their intend was simple - the car would fetch money and would pay off the EMI, can be used for personal trips when the NRI's come visiting. Initially this was a good option, as it was a demand vs supply situation - seeing the neighbor doing good business, i know of at least 5 families who bought Ambassadors on loan, hoping that they would make good business. Now there comes the problem. More cars and less trips - further, the selection of cars were done based on driver relationship with the customers etc. So obviously a lot of guys started sitting idle and frustration started. Few of the guys tried taking things to the hand and bullied customers and demanded they being called as well. However, the customers ganged up together and threatened the driver association with dire consequences (the good part is the unity among the customers) Sensing trouble, drivers calmed down. With loss of business, some of them mend ways and are doing good business now - could upgrade from Ambassadors to innova - managed to build house for themselves and able to send kids to good school. The remaining took other options - moved abroad, started other business and so on. I dont think Ladakh needs to think differently !
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Old 19th July 2015, 13:53   #124
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
But the people at the wheel, i.e. people like us, have different thoughts and ideas, that differ from the mindset of the Srinagar / Manali taxi drivers. Their attempts to peaceably prevent these taxis from proceeding to Nubra / Pangong are ignored, the cars hide in convoys of private-registered vehicles and try to slip past the taxi union people's roadblocks/checkpoints, and then the unionwalas resort to strong-arm tactics to catch them on the way back, and teach them a lesson.
I think you're tacitly approving their hooliganism in the underlined para above. There's nothing peaceful about violating our constitutional right to move within this country.

Personally I think you're being a bit too harsh on them, and the interrogation is definitely over the top. This para below itself is what contains the gist.
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Till today, not a single private-registered vehicle has been stopped or vandalized, whether travelling individually or in convoys. The trouble only begins with vehicles bearing yellow plates with black digits, or black plates with yellow digits - and if one forces a confrontation, well, similar confrontations will happen. As I said before, This is a despicable act of vandalism and strong-arm tactics by a group with vested interests - no two ways about that. I don't support this in any way, but then, as travellers, we do need to conform to local rules, whether written or unwritten.

Last edited by phamilyman : 19th July 2015 at 14:12.
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Old 19th July 2015, 13:57   #125
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Default Tour operators extort Ladakh trekkers, hikers

A related incident from last year, where tour operators tried to extort Ladakh trekkers, hikers :

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The CJM's order said, "I am shocked that the complainant who is also an Indian national has been forced to go through mental agony and torture for more than 15 days and the government agencies including police have slept over the matter. It appears to me that the police is in connivance with the ALTOA and its members. It is shocking to find that a private tour operator's association has demanded Rs 50,000 by issuing a written letter/order against the complainant and the police did not take cognizance of the matter."

The CJM added, "The situation appears to be lawlessness, tourists who are very much Indian nationals are being forced by extortion, bribe and illegal money for travelling to this part of the country and the government agencies are deliberately closing their eyes. It is more surprising and painful to note that Ladakh is a place known for its tourism and if such type of incidents is allowed to continue, it will give a bad name to the state of J&K where tourism is one of the prime attractions to the public. The matter is very serious and involves multiple complications but nevertheless the state agencies in general and police in particular are bound to protect the rights of citizens which have not been done in this case."
Source

Last edited by sdp1975 : 19th July 2015 at 14:00.
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Old 19th July 2015, 14:25   #126
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

What a sad state of affairs! I'm surprised that the local hotel union does not try and reign in these problematic cabbies - don't they realize that they are hurting their own business interests in the long run?

Unfortunately, I doubt the the local administration will take any strong measures - taxi unions are all very political (often with MP/MLA connections), and after all, the local population is going to vote, not the tourists.
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Old 19th July 2015, 15:16   #127
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I condemn this episode. There should be a way to file a complaint on this. It's my fundamental right to travel in my country the way I want as per the guidelines by the GOI. How can a Union violate my right and simply get away with it. I wait to see some action on this on the Government's end.
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Old 19th July 2015, 15:35   #128
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by johy View Post
As many have pointed out in the thread, our driving licences allow us to drive in all parts of the country. But very often, in these mountain communities, you will find places where a large part of the local economy is dependent on taking tourists around in taxis for sightseeing and the like. And where more and more self-driven vehicles come into the picture, their livelihoods are gradually eroded.
Your logic may be good to you but is a recipe for anarchy where everyone extracts their cut and then the business crumbles. Taken to extremes, this kinda restriction on doing business freely is why TN is the industrial hub it is, but Kerala continues to lag despite being at par with them on most other issues.

Tomorrow people in lahaul will say our roads are being used for tourism but we get no money - henceforth between Keylong and Ladakh, only our taxis will run. Then we will literally have to change five taxies between Delhi and Leh. The list is endless.
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Old 19th July 2015, 15:40   #129
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I don't support this in any way, but then, as travellers, we do need to conform to local rules, whether written or unwritten.
Utter nonsense. You sir, seem to be promoting lawlessness and mafias. Local rules, whatever they may be, need to confirm to the "law of the land". Self-driven cars may not be agreeable to some, but they're legal. Naturally, the law MUST prevail.

Cheers,

Jay
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Old 19th July 2015, 15:50   #130
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by johy View Post
And where more and more self-driven vehicles come into the picture, their livelihoods are gradually eroded. And that is the reason, I don't mind paying them. In fact, even for short trips to Darjeeling, I often just take a cabbie and go there. No, I don't mind it.

On a different note, I must mention Sandakphu in West Bengal here. As many of you have read, more and more people are now going there in their self-driven 4x4s. I am pretty sure one of these days the local Jeep association of whatever they call themselves are going to stop other vehicles from going up there. I know your driving licence, just as mine, allows us to go there and drive, but you know how it is going to end. Sad, but inevitable.
And we'll slowly reach a situation where we'll not be able to self drive anywhere in India? I'm sorry, but this logic doesn't cut it, especially in a community by, and for driving enthusiasts. More importantly, it does not meet the conditions required in a democracy like India.

Last time I checked, we were still a democracy. A bunch of ruffians cannot drive policy in such cases, so strong public voice against such activities is the only way to enforce policy in such situations. Attacking an Indian citizen and causing damage to property was still illegal, the last time I checked.

Going by this measure, self-driven cars will have to be banned all over the world. If we say that these kind of steps are inevitable, we are resigning ourselves to whims and fancies of a bunch of hooligans--nothing less. When motoring enthusiasts like us turn our faces away from such evil, we are as good as supporting it.

Last edited by anilp : 19th July 2015 at 15:51.
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Old 19th July 2015, 16:15   #131
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by .anshuman View Post
Those taking flights will still be paying through their nose for 20 year old cabs. What next? You cannot carry you own eatables, clothes and other stuff because local shopkeepers need to earn.
The purpose of making this viral is/was, with the support of other fellow travelers (going there by other medium) would also boycott the place. Today us (because of lame reason) tomorrow they (trekking with their help/equipment. Photography as well, what if they all buy a camera?)

Time to boycott & make this viral. Hope other travelers will see sense.
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Old 19th July 2015, 16:44   #132
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by Sheel View Post
The purpose of making this viral is/was, with the support of other fellow travelers (going there by other medium) would also boycott the place.

Time to boycott & make this viral. Hope other travelers will see sense.
Petition at Change.org

I think to make it count, we should begin with starting a petition to get some of the decision maker to take action on the following:

1. Bringing the culprits involved in this incident to trial.

2. Issuing strict guidelines to taxi unions in the region against repeat incidents or indulging in violence

3. Oath to boycott Leh Ladakh travel by Team BHP members till appropriate action is taken by the government of J&K

It should be informed to the J&K / ladakh tourism board that the team BHP and its thousands of members strictly will dissuade travel to the area unless action is taken.

MODS: Guidance is request on how to collect Team BHP signatures to sign the petition.

Distinguished / Senior BHpians & those with knowledge on law proceedings:

Guidance is requested so as to whom to write this petition to and which all government offices do we send it out to.

Any / All Suggestions to include key political decision makers to whom we write this petition to.
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Old 19th July 2015, 17:51   #133
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I haven't seen any newspaper carrying such an article. Why don't we contact the press and get this published in leading dailies?
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Old 19th July 2015, 18:47   #134
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

I visited Ladakh last summer with my family in my SX4. We enjoyed the trip, especially the warmth of the Ladakhi people and intend to return again next summer in my Storme. (driving to such locations is the reason behind buying a 4X4 SUV).

Such acts of vandalism are the last thing one would expect. This will surely detract from its attraction as a safe tourist destinaion and ultimately effect the livelihood of not just the taxi operators but all the people who depend on tourism ( which would comprise more than 75% of the population). It may also result in reprisals against Ladakhis in the mainland.

The government must act decisively to nip such a thing in the bud. I have just written to the Tourism Minister, Dr. Mahesh Sharma on this issue.

I would request all BHPians to do the same at the following mail ids:

tourismminister@nic.in and dr.mahesh@sansad.nic.in and also on the ministry's FB page.

Last edited by rajneeesh : 19th July 2015 at 18:48.
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Old 19th July 2015, 20:23   #135
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Default Re: Car convoy attacked in Ladakh by taxi mafia!

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Originally Posted by phamilyman View Post
I think you're tacitly approving their hooliganism in the underlined para above. There's nothing peaceful about violating our constitutional right to move within this country.

Personally I think you're being a bit too harsh on them, and the interrogation is definitely over the top. This para below itself is what contains the gist.
Completely Agree with above.

We are all looking forward to clearer details to emerge, regarding how an altercation starting with self drive rentals led to a situation where they attacked private vehicles as well.

That being said, there cannot be "unwritten" local rules in any part of the country. These "unwritten" rules stand to damage the regions they are envisaged to protect in the first place. I do agree that unwritten rules exist in all parts of the country, but we should strive to force govt and administration to act and get rid of such rules.

Ladakh, as a region does not generate enough tax revenue to support itself, hence it is taxpayer's like us all across the rest of the country who fund a lion's share of building infrastructure in the region. The least that everyone can hope for is that this infrastructure is available for use by all legal citizens of the country.

Ecologically sensitive regions are not supposed to have human or vehicular traffic all year round, not only due to inclement weather, but for the protection of the region itself.

People local to these regions, choosing to live there, should be all the more responsible in maintaining the ecological balance of the region, but alas, look how people of the region come together, to create a rowdy taxi union and attack other fellow citizens.

Local Administration needs to be brought to task and questioned on how and why tourists in the region had their vehicles attacked. Accountability needs to be fixed, and action taken. If some of tourists misbehaved or physically hurt the locals, by all means prosecute them as well. But the incident shouldn't be buried as just another local altercation paving the road for more such incidents in the future and trouble for tourists and locals alike.
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