Shiva Sena on Wednesday welcomed the Maharashtra cabinet's decision to give new taxi permits to only those persons who are well versed in Marathi and have resided in the state for at least 15 years.
"We welcome the decision. In fact, the Sena had made the demand in the last session of state legislature," senior Sena leader Subhash Desai told PTI.
"It remains to be seen how stringently the government implements the decision," Desai said.
Ruling Congress, however, denied that the government was toeing the Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena line of targeting migrants.
"The party's principle is to give preference to locals. MNS supports only Marathis. There is a difference between our stand and that of MNS. Local people are not getting opportunities and the government will decide whether to talk with the taxi association or not," Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Anant Gadgil said.
The new rules, approved at a meeting of the cabinet in Mumbai, state that those who apply for taxi permits must speak, read and write Marathi.
Migrants from North Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar would be affected by the new norms as most taxis in Mumbai are being driven by people from these two states.
However, the decision is only for new permits and old ones won't be affected, an official said.