State

Karnataka tourists shell out Rs 10K to cross Goa border- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Karnataka tourists, who were taking taxis to Goa, were forced to pay Rs 10,262 fine and penalty per vehicle to get a special permit to cross the border. Taxi drivers could not obtain these permits as the State Transport Authority in Bengaluru and RTOs in other districts were closed for four days from Thursday due to holidays and the state does not have the option of getting them online.

Over 40 taxis were held up at the Mollem checkpost in Goa since Thursday, M Ravi, vicepresident, Karnataka Tourism Forum, told The New Sunday Express on Saturday. Normally, the special permit costs Rs 100 or Rs 200 and it is paid at the RTO office at Shanthinagar in Bengaluru and other RTOs in other parts of the state. Many taxi drivers had gone to the Goa border, thinking that they could get the permits at the checkpost as the service was available till recently. But it has been stopped since April 1, he said.

“While Andhra Pradesh and Kerala are issuing special permits online, Karnataka is yet to give this option. Tourists are forced to shell out huge amounts as fine and penalty to enter Goa. A taxi driver from our own Arjun Tours and Travels had to pay Rs 10,262. For bigger vehicles, like vans, the fine was Rs 17,000, while tourist buses had to cough up Rs 25,000,” he said.

When contacted, Transport Commissioner Shivakumar N said, “We have already started issuing special permits to state vehicles online. But there is no connectivity at checkposts. We are working on resolving it. Now, the State Transport authority is issuing the special permits in Bengaluru and RTOs in other districts. At a recent meeting, we decided to delegate the power of issuing special permits to enter Goa at checkposts.”

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