Minister meets cabbies, but no consensus reached

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Following five days of the Ola-Uber drivers’ strike, Delhi Transport Minister Satyendra Jain finally held talks with private cab owners and protesting drivers’ unions on Tuesday, urging them to resolve various issues amongst themselves.

Najafgarh MLA Kailash Gehlot, member of the State Transport Authority, convened the meeting, but no consensus could be reached between the sparring drivers’ unions and the app-based cab operators. So, it was not clear whether the strike will be called off on Wednesday.

Drivers of two app-based taxi aggregators — Ola and Uber — have been on a strike since Friday. While some cabbies are plying, they are charging the exorbitant ‘surge prices’. As a result, commuters are having a hard time finding a ride. Also, the business of the vehicle owners has been severely hit.

Meanwhile, after the meeting, Ola issued an official statement, which read: “We are concerned about the inconvenience being caused to some of our customers across Delhi-NCR over the last few days. We’d like to reassure them that we are working closely with the local authorities to resolve the issue at the earliest.”

Commenting on the talks, a government official said: “In the discussions between the two parties, it emerged that the issues need detailed deliberations for the two sides to arrive at a common ground. The companies have been asked to look into the problems faced by drivers and their demand for reasonable compensation and welfare measures.”

Jain also took note of the incidents of vandalism by a group of protesters. “The Transport Department officials have been asked to inform the police about the exact locations where the miscreants are indulging in vandalism, and complaints should be lodged so that criminal cases can be for registered against them,” he said.

Nearly 1.5 lakh cabs attached with the two aggregators ply in Delhi-NCR.

The drivers have been demanding a revision in base fare, a cap on the number of cabs plying under the two aggregators, return of incentives, and reduction in the amount of commission paid to the companies. The Sarvodaya Drivers Association of Delhi (SDAD), which had called the strike, said they will continue with the protest till, at least, Wednesday. “We will wait for an official letter from the companies, after which if the demands are not met, we will block roads and not allow any other form of transportation to ply in the city,