During the start of the tourist season this year, there was a huge dispute between the Motorcycle rental associations of Ladakh and Manali. The reason for the dispute, of course, was about who was going to benefit the most from the upcoming tourist season; who was going to get the bigger piece of the cake. Now a similar dispute has arisen between the Taxi Unions of both the tourist destinations. If one is to believe the reports, this dispute has actually gotten violent.
As per Gupat Ram, president of the taxi operators’ union, Manali, said, “On June 22, the taxi operators of Leh damaged eight of our vehicles. Thereafter, they threatened us that they would not allow us to ferry passengers from Leh to Manali. Earlier, our taxis were ferrying tourists from Manali to Leh and back.”
He further said, “After the dispute, they have not been allowing us to carry passengers from Leh to Manali and we are doing the same with passengers bound for Leh. It will overburden the tourists and they will have to pay hefty charges to visit the region.”
“Generally, tourists pay Rs 18,000 to visit Leh from Manali, but they will have to pay Rs 25,000 after the dispute,” said a taxi operator.
Gupat Ram said, “We urge the state government to intervene in the matter because it is a matter of two states. The Manali taxi operators have the all-India permit. How can a taxi union in Leh bar us from ferrying passengers from their region?”
What this means for you as a tourist is that traveling to Leh from Manali by Taxi just got more difficult, hectic and way more expensive. This incident has a stark resemblance to another once when the Taxi Operators in Leh attacked tourists and destroyed several non-local and self-drive rental taxis of ZoomCar.
I do not really want to get into the whole argument of who is right or wrong in this dispute but what I can definitely tell you is that if incidents like this continued to occur, Ladakh will fast lose its charm as a tourist destination. Its fall will be even quicker than its rise to glory and the reason will be the rental associations.