Ola, Uber drivers threaten strike across NCR from September 1
Drivers working for app-based cab aggregators such as Uber and Ola have threatened to go on strike from September 1, across the National Capital Region (NCR).
They have been demanding an extension to pay the EMIs of their vehicles, a hike in the per km fare, reduction in commission charged by the companies operating the services and e-challans’ rollback.
With government buses accommodating fewer passengers and the Delhi Metro services yet to resume, the strike could affect travel for thousands of citizens across the NCR.
Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi, a union of Ola-Uber drivers, which claimed to have around 200,000 cabs attached to them across the NCR, on Thursday said they will go on strike from September 1 unless their demands are met. The association said that most drivers attached to the union are those who have taken bank loans for purchasing the vehicle and have to pay monthly instalments of up to Rs 15,000.
“After the lockdown, our condition had deteriorated. The number of clients has come down to just 10%, as most people are still working from home. The drivers are struggling to make ends meet. We have sent letters to the Prime Minister, the union finance and transport ministers to urge banks to extend the relaxation on paying EMIs till December 31 this year,” said Kamaljeet Gill, president, Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi.
He added that they there has been one relaxation between March and August, but they need an extension, as work has not picked up. “Many drivers are borrowing from friends to run their houses. These days, a driver is earning about Rs 150-200 per day, after deducting 26% commission to the company, maintenance and fuel charges. This is much lower than what we made in pre-Covid days. Back then, if a driver worked for 14-15 hours a day, he would take home around Rs 800-900 after deducting all the charges. It is a huge difference and we request the government to save our livelihoods otherwise drivers will have to sell their cabs or the banks will take them away,” said Gill.
He also said that so far, the cab aggregators have fixed the fares at Rs 6 per km, which is much less than the government rates fixed for taxis and go up to Rs 10-12 per km. “If the fare is hiked to at least Rs 10 per km, it will help us earn more and will only be fair to do so,” he said.
On e-challans (camera-based traffic challans where drivers are not prosecuted on the spot), Gill alleged that drivers have got 10-20 challans in the past few months for driving above the speed of 40km/h.
“Even for personal cars, the speed limit is 50km/h. There are no roads signs for commercial vehicles such as cabs to drive at 40km/h and many drivers have got a number of challans of Rs 2,000 each. How are we supposed to pay off these challans? We request the government to waive them off or roll back this policy,” said Gill.
Professor Nilofar Khan, who has 30 years of teaching experience, has been appointed as the first woman vice-chancellor of the University of Kashmir, officials said on Thursday. The order of appointment was issued by Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Manoj Sinha in his capacity of being the chancellor of the university. She will be replacing Professor Talat Ahmad, who completed his second tenure as the V-C of the university which began in August 2018.
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Following the conviction of banned JKLF chief Yasin Malik by a Delhi court in a terror funding case on Thursday, wife of late Squadron Leader Ravi Khanna, Shalini Khanna, said she was confident of getting justice for Yasin Malik. “Bad deeds lead to bad outcomes,” said the 70-year-old, while demanding Malik be sent to the gallows. Squadron leader Khanna was shot 27 times with an AK assault rifle.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police on Thursday claimed to have solved the Baramulla grenade attack case on a liquor shop with the arrest of four Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists and a terror associate. The police identified the four militants as Shahid Showkat Bala, Safeer Ahmad Mir, Moh Maroof Saleh and Faisal Shaban Gojri, all residents of Baramulla while their associate Hatif Ahmad Sofi was from Arampora.