After the 50000 farmers procession that knocked Mumbai last week now Maharastra BJP government facing another headache from call taxi unions.
Commuters in Mumbai are facing a tough Monday as thousands of Ola and Uber drivers have called a strike. With less cabs on roads, Mumbaikars are complaining of surge pricing.
A driver who decided to run his taxi despite the strike faced the ire of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Nitin Nandgaonkar who broke the vehicle's windshield.
Ola and Uber drivers are protesting against inadequate remuneration. The indefinite strike, starting today, has been called by the transport wing of the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena in Mumbai.
Drivers who own their cabs are also protesting against the discriminatory practice by Ola and Uber for giving first preference to company-owned cabs over driver-owned taxis. Cab drivers in Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad have also joined the protest.
The major grouse of Ola, Uber cab drivers is that they are not able to recover costs due to falling business. Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena, which has called the strike, alleged mismanagement by cab aggregator firms.
"Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 5-7 lakh and were expecting to make Rs 1.5 lakh a month. But drivers are unable to make even half of this because of the mismanagement by these companies," Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena said.
Another concern among cab drivers is that cab aggregators give preference to cabs owned the company over driver-owned cabs. Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena alleged that these taxi-hailing companies were giving first priority to company-owned cars rather than driver-owned vehicles, causing a slump in their business.
Other taxi unions, including the Mumbai Taximen's Union, have extended support to the strike called by Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena. Cab drivers in Delhi, Bengaluru and other major metro cities have hinted that they too could join the strike.
Police in Mumbai have issued notices to leaders of the union under section 149 of CrPC relating to unlawful assembly. "Notices of section 149 of CrPC have been issued to Sanjay Naik, president, Arif Shaikh and Nitin Nandgaokar of the Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena as preventive action. If they violate any orders, they are liable to be prosecuted," said Pandit Thorat, senior inspector of the Andheri police station.
Mumbai has 45,000 cabs, operating via aggregators like Ola or Uber. Due to a slump in business, the number of such cabs has gone down by 20 per cent.
An Ola spokesperson said, "We have been informed by the Mumbai Police that they have proactively taken all the necessary steps to ensure safety of commuters during the cab rides in the city."
Union leaders threatened said that drivers in New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune Chennai among other metros would also participate in the strike.