A section of drivers of cab aggregators Ola and Uber is going off roads to hold a protest over alleged low payment and foul play by the companies.
Thousands of commuters will face a major inconvenience due to the nationwide indefinite strike starting from Monday.
As many as 5,000 drivers from different parts of the country are staging protests in key cities like Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Pune among others.
Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena has called the strike claiming that several drivers are not being able to cover costs due to falling business.
Talking about the same Sanjay Naik of Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena told ANI, "We demand that Ola and Uber taxis agree to the laws by which the yellow-black taxis are run. They are doing business unlawfully: Sanjay Naik, MNS on strike of Ola and Uber taxi drivers called by Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena in #Mumbai."
We demand that Ola and Uber taxis agree to the laws by which the yellow-black taxis are run. They are doing business unlawfully: Sanjay Naik, MNS on strike of Ola and Uber taxi drivers called by Maharashtra Navnirman Vahtuk Sena in #Mumbai pic.twitter.com/RghCnobT6g— ANI (@ANI) March 19, 2018
"Ola and Uber had given big assurances to the drivers, but today they are unable to cover their costs. They have invested Rs 500,000 - 700,000 and were expecting to make Rs 150,000 a month. But drivers are unable to make even half of this because of the mismanagement by these companies," earlier PTI quoted Naik.
Naik also accused both the companies of giving first priority to company-owned cars. The driver-owned vehicles are left to take petty rides only causing a slump in their business.
Other taxi hailing unions, including the Mumbai Taximen's Union and Swaraj Vahan Chalak Malak Sanghatna have also extended their support and would be going ahead with the strike if their demands are not being fulfilled.
Later on Monday, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) leader Nitin Nandgaonkar breaks the windshield of a taxi which was plying in the city.
There are also reports that the drivers, who have been staging protests against this double-dealing over the last several months, also plan to gherao Parliament building on March 22 seeking government's attention in the matter.
In March 2017, two Bengaluru drivers had even tried to commit suicide outside Ola's office in the city while some of them started hunger-strike to protest against falling earnings on the cab-hailing platforms.
They went on a strike in Delhi-NCR region and demanded a hike in per km fare. The group urged to increase the rate from existing Rs 6 per km to around Rs 20 per km. Delhi's Sarvodaya Drivers' Association even demanded the abolition of 25 per cent commission the drivers are charged by companies.
Meanwhile, police have already 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," Pandit Thorat, senior inspector of the Andheri police station was quoted by PTI.
While the Uber officials are yet to issue a comment regarding the same, an Ola spokesperson said that the Mumbai Police has proactively taken all the necessary steps to ensure the safety of commuters during the cab rides in the city.