Bengaluru air travellers suffer as cabbies stay off road after driver’s death

One Prathap, 35, set himself on fire because he was in financial trouble and was unable to repay the loan on his taxi

Bengaluru airport
The Bengaluru International Airport Limited issued a passenger advisory after the cab drivers stayed off roads on Wednesday morning. | Photo: iStock

A cab driver set himself on fire outside the Bengaluru International Airport on Tuesday evening (March 30) because he was in financial trouble and was unable to repay the loan on his taxi, the Bengaluru police have said. The 35-year-old driver died of burn injuries in the hospital later.

Blaming online cab aggregators for offering discounted fares to travellers, most cab drivers decided to stay off roads on Wednesday. They even staged a protest outside the airport to protest against the death, causing hardship to passengers.

The Bengaluru International Airport Limited issued an advisory to the passengers to use bus services instead of depending on cabs in view of the protest. “Passengers are requested to use the BMTC bus service for travel to and from BLR Airport or make their own travel arrangements,” the advisory read.

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The deceased, identified as one Prathap, was 35 years old and hailed from Ramanagara district in Karnataka.

Also read: ‘Karnataka model’ turning rapidly into a COVID-19 nightmare

Tanveer Pasha, President of Karnataka Ola, Uber Drivers and Owners Association told indianexpress.com, “It is unfortunate that we have started to lose our own people to the unprecedented rise in fuel prices and inflation. Striking a balance to get enough money for a living has been a challenge since (coronavirus-induced) lockdown hit us last year but we have hardly recovered since then.”

Pasha said the drivers’ per trip payment has been reduced after change in tariffs, which was done by cab aggregators in the race to capture the market. “We had asked the Karnataka government for a uniform tariff system for all taxicabs, but no one in the government listens to us,” Pasha said.

On Tuesday evening (March 30), 35-year-old Prathap locked himself in his car at the Kempegowda International Airport. He then poured petrol over his body and light a match. By the time he was rescued, Prathap had suffered serious burns. He died in the hospital.

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