Telangana: Debts haunt striking cabbies
Hyderabad: Most of the cabbies who took part in the recent protest are burdened with the debts they contracted for purchasing cabs. They say that Uber and Ola duped the cabbies promising huge incomes. Three cabbies have ended their lives last year unable to bear the pressure from financiers. Telangana State Cabs and Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA) president Syed Nizamuddin said the drivers who now own cabs were working for travel agencies or cabs catering to MNCs.
But when Ola and Uber entered the market they trapped the drivers promising to make them vehicle owners. Lured by this, many left their jobs and joined Ola. But to become an owner, a person has to make a down payment of around Rs 2 lakh. "Many could not pay that. They borrowed money or sold jewellery. Gradually the number of vehicles increased and the promised incentives decreased." he said.
At first, they could pay the drivers as promised, but the situation changed gradually. Even if a driver works for 18 hours a day he could not achieve the target for the incentive. Due to this, the drivers could not maintain their families and pay EMIs. If a driver makes '70,000 a month he can do this. But the situation is difficult now. In addition to the existing fleet of around 60,000 vehicles in Ola and Uber, 10,000 more have been added. They say these new vehicles were introduced on lease. The driver has to pay Rs 24,000 a month to the management as instalment, and after completion of EMIs, he can own the vehicle. To get this, managements are giving preference to these vehicles and ignoring other vehicles."
“Despite repeated requests they did not respond. We appeal to our members that suicide is not the solution and to the managements to pay us as per guidelines. We do not want any big sums but just enough to maintain ourselves,” another member said. Both the managements were unavailable for comment.