Hyderabad: Private drivers associated with Telangana State Taxi and Drivers JAC Associations (TSTDJAC) protested against private cab services like Ola, Uber at Rajiv Gandhi International Airport, Hyderabad demanding minimum fare of Rs 22 per km, among other demands. Except for a handful of cab drivers, the rest observed an indefinite strike, paralysing the movement of air passengers on Saturday.

Three days ago, the private taxi drivers had issued a statement calling for a strike against Ola, Uber and I.T companies, demanding them to re-instate off boarded drivers, ensure minimum business guarantee to drivers, implementation of G.O.Ms no. 61 and 66, KYC approval of customers and establishment of taxi Driver Welfare and Administration Board for drivers’ safety.

“Keep Meter; Remove Ola, Uber”

Mr. Sheikh Salauddin, chairman of TSTD JAC, told Newsmeter that since 5 am, protests were held at the airport. “We did not take trips to the airport today. A lot of customers suffered, but we took care to provide services for those who needed it the most. We do not want to create difficulties for the public, it is the government that is making us do this. They are not even ready to negotiate and talk with us,” said Salauddin.

He also alleged that the private taxi services block the employment IDs of drivers for flimsy reasons. “They say that Ola, Uber give employment, but look at what their management does. They block our employment IDs for silly reasons. What did they say when they were forming Telangana? That they will turn unemployment into employment. The opposite is happening now,” he added.

One of the main demands of the taxi association is to pay them Rs 22 per km. Taxi drivers alleged that cab aggregators like Ola/Uber are exploiting their service by paying maximum Rs 14 per km even during a price surge.

Some cabs still on the road

On asking why some of the private drivers are still on the road today, Salauddin added, “Private cab services are trying to motivate drivers with offers and loot ordinary customers. They call us their partners. If we really are their partners, ask them to give us our share of the company’s profit. Even if you check the app now, you will find that there is a surge in prices. The state government should issue some guidelines for the private cab services. Out of helplessness, most of the drivers are coming on the road today,” he told.

A driver associated with Uber operating out of Ameerpet area, (under the condition of anonymity), told Newsmeter that while the association had called for a strike, he had decided to operate services nevertheless, due to financial constraints. “As of now, my condition does not allow me to observe the strike. I need to earn my bread to survive,” he said.

Amritha Mohan

Amritha Mohan is a reporter at the NewsMeter. Shortly after completing her Master's in Communication at the University of Hyderabad, she began teaching courses on media and culture as a guest lecturer at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, North-Eastern Hill University (NEHU), Shillong. Amritha has previously interned with news organisations such as Greater Kashmir and Newslaundry. A lover of travel and photography, she spends most of her time planning road trips to the North-East. Nothing makes her happier than a green turf and a team to play football with. She primarily reports on education, tech, human-interesting and critical features.

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