Ola asked to stop services in Karnataka

According to the Additional Commissioner, Transport Department, the aggregator has failed to renew the licence and is providing services illegally. (Photo for representation purpose)   | Photo Credit: By Special Arrangement

The Transport Department has served a notice to ride sharing aggregator Ola directing it to stop operations. Department officials claim that the licence granted to the aggregator under the ‘Karnataka on demand transportation technology aggregator-rules 2016’ has lapsed and continuation of the service is against the rules.

L. Hemantha Kumara, Additional Commissioner, Transport Department, and Secretary of Karnataka State Transport Authority (KSTA) told The Hindu that the licence issued to Ola had lapsed in June this year. “We had issued it to Ola to provide taxi services in June 2016, and it has expired. The aggregator has failed to renew the licence and is providing services illegally. In the notice served, we have asked them to stop operations. They can resume only after renewing the licence.”

When contacted, Ola did not give an official response. However, sources in the company maintained that as per a notification issued on June 17, 2021 by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the validity of the documents related to Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 and Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, was extended. They claimed that the licence granted to the aggregator is valid till September 2021. The source also claimed that Ola has already approached the authorities concerned seeking a renewal of the licence.

Drivers on edge

Drivers’ unions claim that fights between the Transport Department and Ola are affecting the drivers who have attached their vehicles with the aggregator. Mr. K. Somashekar of Namma Chalakara Trade Union said, “Department officials should take action against Ola if there are some lapses on their part. Why do they target poor taxi drivers who have attached their vehicles with the aggregators by booking cases and issuing challans? Drivers are nowhere responsible if the aggregator is not complying with the rules as claimed by officials.”

When asked about booking cases against taxi drivers who had attached vehicles with Ola, Mr. Kumara said, “They can provide services individually, without attaching vehicles with the aggregator.” Transport Commissioner Mr. N. Shivakumar was not available for comment.

This is not the first time that Ola has faced the ire of the Transport Department. In March 2019, the department had suspended the licence for illegally providing bike taxi services. However, the suspension was revoked within a few days after some Ministers within the cabinet of then H.D. Kumaraswamy government raised objections.

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 11:08:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ola-asked-to-stop-services-in-karnataka/article35502242.ece

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