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Drivers will go on strike if Ola and Uber don’t meet demands, says Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

Ola and Uber drivers will start committing suicides like farmers, said Sanjay Naik, president of MNVS, the transport wing of MNS.

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2018 00:31 IST
Kailash Korde
Kailash Korde
Hindsutan Times
The MNS’s transport wing demanded that Ola and Uber should give their drivers an assured business of Rs1.25 lakh per month. (Representational photo)

App-based cabs of aggregators like Ola and Uber may go off the roads from Monday as the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) transport wing, Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena (MNVS), has threatened to go on an indefinite strike. It also claimed that it has received support from most of the union of app-based cab drivers.

The MNVS has primarily demanded that Ola and Uber should give their drivers an assured business of Rs1.25 lakh per month. They have also demanded that the taxi aggregators stop plying their own cars, reinstate ‘wrongly blacklisted’ drivers, and reduce the commission charged to drivers.

Earlier, MNVS had announced one-day protest on Monday. However, in a press conference on Saturday, the union announced that their ‘offline protest’ would be for an indefinite period. Both Ola and Uber have refused to comment on the issue.

“Everyday drivers log in on their mobile to accept bookings, but in this ‘offline protest’ they will neither log in nor accept the bookings,” said Sanjay Naik, president of MNVS, threatening that their union won’t allow cabs owned by Ola and Uber to ply on roads either.

While it is not clear how many drivers of the app-based services will join the strike on Monday, many of them would prefer to not ply on the roads if there will be violence. In such a case, commuters may find it difficult to get vehicles or may have to pay higher fare due to surge pricing.

“Ola and Uber had shown the dream of monthly income of Rs1.25 lakh, but now they are barely getting Rs20,000 to Rs30,000, making it difficult for the drivers to run the show,” said Naik. The taxi aggregators give preference to the cabs owned by the companies itself, he added.

Maharasthrian drivers have bought new cars that cost more than Rs5-7 lakhs based on the assurance, but now their situation has become similar to farmers, he said.

“In Maharashtra farmers are committing suicide as they were unable to repay the loan taken by them. Similarly, the drivers of Ola-Uber will start committing suicide. The banks have seized vehicles of several Marathi drivers, as they failed to repay loans,” said Nitin Nandgaokar, another leader of MNVS.

According to the union, a majority of the drivers own diesel tourist taxis, which won’t able to run more than a year, if the government implements the new Maharashtra City taxi rules 2017. They will have either to convert it into Compress Natural Gas (CNG) fuel or sell it off.

It will cost at least Rs1.5 lakh for the conversion and in addition, drivers will have shell out Rs2.61 lakh for the app taxi permit, said Naik. He then criticised the government for not acting against the aggregators and instead supporting their business.

The union claimed that not just the one lakh tourist-taxi operators in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, but also those from major cities such as New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and several other cities in Maharashtra will join the strike.

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 00:30 IST