Tech monopoly, exploitation drive smaller players into despair

Drivers
Big tech companies are dictating terms to customers, partners and also the government, even as they kill the competition by smaller players and garner a larger part of the revenues | Image - Eunice Dhivya

In a shocking incident on March 30, Prathap Kumar, a 34-year-old airport taxi driver attached to Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation, died by suicide after setting himself ablaze inside his car in front of the departure and arrival gate outside the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru.

Kumar parked the vehicle in the middle of the road, closed the windows, and doused himself in petrol. By the time an onlooker tried to help and the fire service came to his rescue, Kumar had sustained 70% burn injuries and died in hospital the next day.

His fellow drivers at the airport say Kumar was upset over low earnings and had a bank loan of nearly ₹4.5 lakh to repay. With infrequent trips and customers preferring Ola and Uber over state-run taxis, Kumar and others were losing out on income.

Ramesh Gowda, president of Kempegowda International Airport Taxi Drivers and Owners Welfare Association, says Prathap had to wait for 18 hours to get a single ride.

To continue reading this article...

You have to be a Premium Subscriber

Start your subscription with a free trial

Enjoy unlimited Eighth column, archives and games on
thefederal.com and thefederal.com and many more features.
You will also be supporting ethical and unbiased journalism.
plans start from Rs. 99
Get breaking news and latest updates from India
and around the world on thefederal.com
FOLLOW US: