Taxi services to the city’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) was disrupted on Wednesday as they stayed off the road, after an airport cab driver who allegedly set himself ablaze, died last night.
Pratap, 34, from Ramanagara, working with the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation’s airport taxi service, had allegedly set himself ablaze inside his car near the pick-up area of the airport on Tuesday, depressed over his financial troubles, police sources said, adding that they were trying to ascertain the exact cause.
Aircraft rescue and fire-fighting team had rescued him and he was rushed to hospital, but succumbed to injuries at midnight, they said.
According to airport taxi drivers, Pratap, took the extreme step due to poor financial condition, poor business and inability to pay EMIs.
They said most taxi drivers including those linked to Ola, Uber, KSDTC and other airport taxi services have stayed off the roads as a mark of protest following his death, as many of them are going through similar financial problems.
KIA in a passenger advisory said taxi services at the airport have been impacted and passengers are requested to use the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses to travel to or from the airport or make their own travel arrangements.
BMTC has deployed additional buses on the airport route to help passengers, official sources said.
Alleging that price war in the cab industry and government”s apathy has led to Pratap’s death, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in a series of tweets said KSDTC was following taxi fare of Rs 24 per km fixed by the state government. Taxi aggregators, however, were offering fares of Rs 9 per km to attract passengers, resulting in business loss for KSDTC drivers, he added.
ಕ್ಯಾಬ್ ಉದ್ಯಮದ ದರ ಸಮರ, ಸರ್ಕಾರದ ನಿರ್ಲಕ್ಷ್ಯಕ್ಕೆ ಪ್ರತಾಪ್ ಜೀವ ಬಲಿಯಾಗಿದೆ. ಟ್ಯಾಕ್ಸಿ, ಕ್ಯಾಬ್ಗಳಿಗೆ ಸರ್ಕಾರ 1 ಕಿ.ಮೀಗೆ ₹24 ದರ ನಿಗದಿ ಮಾಡಿದೆ. ಕೆಎಸ್ಟಿಡಿಸಿ ಚಾಲಕರು ಇದನ್ನು ಪಾಲಿಸುತ್ತಿದ್ದರೆ, ಖಾಸಗಿ ಕಂಪನಿಗಳು ನಿಯಮ ಗಾಳಿಗೆ ತೂರಿ ಗ್ರಾಹಕರನ್ನು ಆಕರ್ಷಿಸುತ್ತಿವೆ. ಕೆಎಸ್ಟಿಡಿಸಿ ಚಾಲಕರು ಸೊರಗುತ್ತಿದ್ದಾರೆ.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) March 31, 2021
ಸರ್ಕಾರ ದರ ಸಮರದತ್ತ ಕೂಡಲೇ ಗಮನಹರಿಸಬೇಕು. ನಿಯಮ ಪಾಲಿಸದೇ ಮಾರುಕಟ್ಟೆಯಲ್ಲಿ ಅನಗತ್ಯ ಪೈಪೋಟಿ ಸೃಷ್ಟಿ ಮಾಡುತ್ತಿರುವ, ಆ ಮೂಲಕ ಅಮಾಯಕ ಚಾಲಕರ ಪ್ರಾಣ ಕಸಿಯುತ್ತಿರುವ ಖಾಸಗಿ ಕಂಪನಿಗಳಿಗೆ ಎಚ್ಚರಿಕೆ ನೀಡಬೇಕು. ಅದರ ಮೂಲಕ ಅಮಾಯಕ, ಶ್ರಮಜೀವಿ ಕ್ಯಾಬ್ ಚಾಲಕರ ರಕ್ಷಣೆಗೆ ಸರ್ಕಾರ ಕೂಡಲೇ ಕ್ರಮ ಕೈಗೊಳ್ಳಬೇಕು ಎಂದು ನಾನು ಆಗ್ರಹಿಸುತ್ತೇನೆ.— H D Kumaraswamy (@hd_kumaraswamy) March 31, 2021
He urged the state government to intervene and come to the rescue of the taxi drivers. PTI