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.
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