Cab services in Bengaluru were affected on Wednesday after drivers went on a strike to protest against the death of one of their colleagues, who set himself on fire outside the city airport, The News Minute reported.
The deceased driver, identified as Pratap, worked with the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation. He allegedly took his life to mark his protest against the lack of government assistance for drivers like him to tide over the economic distress caused due to rise in fuel prices and the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Bangalore Airport Limited, which operates the Kempegowda International Airport, issued an advisory asking passengers travelling to and fro the airport to either take the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses, or make other arrangements, as all Uber, Ola and state government cab drivers halted services.
Several of them gathered outside the airport to protest against the death of their colleague. A section of protestors also staged a demonstration outside the residence of Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, according to The News Minute.
An airport spokesperson told NDTV that the authorities were working to manage the situation.
The incident took place on Tuesday afternoon, when Pratap parked his car in the middle of the road, closed the windows and set himself ablaze using petrol, according to The New Indian Express. Other drivers on the spot rushed to rescue him. They pulled him out after breaking open the windshield, and took him to the Victoria Hospital.
Doctors said that he suffered 70% injuries in the incident. He succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday night, Bengaluru-Northeast Division District Commissioner of Police CK Baba told ANI.
Ola Uber Drivers and Owners’ Association President Tanveer Pasha, who participated in Wednesday’s protest, condemned Pratap’s death. “While cab aggregators are running trips at discounted prices, drivers attached to other players, like KSTDC, are hit hard,” Pasha told The New Indian Express. “Ola and Uber get a major share of the trips, but even their drivers are facing huge losses because of highly discounted fares.”
The association demanded the government should introduce a uniform fare for all taxis.