Ola blinks, prepared for talks; Uber but to reply

Nagpur: Stung by massive response to the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS)-backed Ola cab operators and owners’ strike in Nagpur on Monday, the cab aggregator has shown readiness to hold talks.
On Monday, commuters faced lot of inconvenience as they could not book cabs due to daylong strike at Reshimbagh. “However, the strike continued till late afternoon on Tuesday too as many drivers and operators had kept their devices off,” claimed Hemant Gadkari, state general secretary of MNS, who led the stir.

Gadkari said after huge response to the strike, Ola has given positive signals for talks. “I’m in receipt of an e-mail from Iktear Uddin (Anik), head, law enforcements & compliances, Ola Cabs, on Monday evening about readiness to discuss the issues,” confirmed Gadkari.

Gadkari and some Helping Hands Group members also received the mail and Ola was ready to talk with them between April 24 & 26.

Gadkari said there is still no response from another aggregator Uber. On Tuesday, over 200 Uber drivers and cab owners went to Sonegaon police station with Gadkari to apprise about the company’s city office adjacent to the police station closed and there is no response.

“We told PI Sanjay Pandey that in case of law and order problem we will not be responsible,” said a section of drivers. Gadkari said a formal complaint will be lodged against Uber this week.

On Tuesday, the MNS leader and stakeholders held a meeting in which they decided to hold talks and put their demands before Ola officials. “If talks fail the strike will be launched again,” he said.

Among the major demand of the drivers and owners is about giving consistent business to them as promised. Their grudge is that Ola has pushed in its own fleet of cabs which has hit business.

They charged cab aggregators with luring unemployed youths with a promise of Rs1.25 lakh per month earning. But now most of the business is being bagged by company cabs only leaving drivers and cab owners in lurch.

The drivers and owners also want fares as per cost of vehicles and stop low fare booking. They are also miffed at government’s announcement that Ola & Uber cabs should run on CNG.

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