Taxi, auto drivers unhappy with bulk permits

Special Correspondent

Government urged not to issue bulk permits to private taxi companies in Bangalore

Unions apprehensive that autos may be phased out

Demonstration to be staged on January 31

BANGALORE: Taxi drivers and autorickshaw drivers in Bangalore are up in arms against the State Government’s decision to issue permits in bulk to private taxi companies plying their vehicles in the city.

The Bangalore District Taxi Drivers’ Union (BDTU) and Autorickshaw Drivers’ Union (ARDU), both affiliated to Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), have taken exception to the State Government’s move to issue bulk permits to private taxi companies, which would not only threaten the livelihood of autorickshaw drivers, but also denying taxi drivers service benefits and wage security.

At a joint press conference in Bangalore on Wednesday, the BDTU and ARDU have urged the State Government to stop issuing fresh permits to the private taxi companies and adhere to labour laws.

The BDTU and ARDU along with Bangalore International Airport Taxi Drivers’ Union would be staging a demonstration in front of the office of Bangalore Urban District Deputy Commissioner on January 31 to register their protest against the issue of bulk permits to private taxi companies by the State Government.

“We will gather in front of the office of Bangalore Urban District Deputy Commissioner, who is the chairman of Regional Transport Authority, and submit to him a memorandum,” said BDTU president K.N. Umesh.

The indiscriminate issue of bulk permits to the private taxi companies threatens to push autorickshaws out of operation in the city. “The earnings of autorickshaw drivers in the city has dipped ever since hundreds of taxis operated by the private companies hit the road a couple of months ago.

With the private taxi operators seeking fresh bulk permits and the Government eager to oblige them, the fate of autorickshaw drivers hangs in balance. We can’t figure out whether the Government is conspiring to phase out autorickshaws from the city,” said C.N. Srinivas, who is the organising secretary of ARDU.

The taxi drivers, who had been recruited in hundreds by private taxi companies, were being forced to work without proper wages, job security and other service benefits such as a holiday and rest. “The taxi drivers are being exploited by the private taxi company.

The drivers are forced to work for long hours throughout the week without proper rest and holiday,” said Mr. Umesh.

The BDTU urged the Government to ensure that the provisions of Motor Transport Workers’ Act 1961 and Karnataka State Motor Transport Workers Rules 1964 are incorporated in the permits issued to the private taxi companies so that the taxi drivers were not exploited.

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