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TSCBOA demands probe into Uber’s claims on US $ 50 million investment

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Hyderabad: The Telangana State Cabs and Bus Operators Association (TSCBOA) has demanded an independent probe into the claims of US $ 50 million investment by Uber, the aggregator in travel industry.

In a media statement, TSCBOA President Syed Nizamuddin said that the Uber management has been facing serious allegations of cheating drivers by luring them into business with fake promises. The company is under severe criticism since one of its drivers (“Partner”) committed suicide on November 11, 2015. A series of protests were held against the aggregators, especially Uber and Ola, by the drivers who alleged that these companies have completely failed to give promised business and incentives to the drivers, whom they enrolled as “Partners”.

The drivers were lured into the contract on the promise of more than Rs. 70,000 monthly income. The drivers, who purchased new vehicles on finance on heavy interest rate were badly hit after the Uber and Ola managements drastically reduced their incentives and bookings. More than 150 drivers lodged a joint complaint of cheating by Uber management at Madhapur Police Station on November 10. However, no action was taken against the Uber management. A case is also pending before the State Minorities Commission which took up the matter after Uber Driver Zaheeruddin committed suicide at his residence in Golnaka in Amberpet Police Station limits on November 17. He was part of the delegation which met State Ministers on the fateful day against the alleged cheating done by Uber management.

“Uber management is trying to take shield by using the flashy words like “Center of Excellence”, “investment” and “US $ 50 million”. It may be noted that US $ 50 million equals to roughly Rs. 340 Crore. The private cab operators in Hyderabad pay almost five times more tax to the State Government every year than the total investments being promised by the Uber. Instead of supporting the aggregators without bringing them under the purview of RTA or other regulatory authorities, a few officials are apparently supporting them for reasons best known to them. Further, as against the claims of hiring 150 staff for its “Center of Excellence”, the Uber has selectively sacked more than 1,000 drivers in the last three months as a punishment for participating in the protest,” said Syed Nizamuddin.

“It is highly shocking that the Uber management was able to drag Information Technology Minister K. Tarakarama Rao into this mess. By posing for pictures with ministers and senior officials and getting media coverage with fancy headlines, the Uber management is apparently trying to influence the ongoing cheating cases,” he said.

The TSCBOA chief said it was not against the entry of Uber, Ola or other aggregators and their investment plans in the city. However, he said they should be brought under the regulatory authorities on par with other travel operators. Further, the State Government should facilitate a free and fair trial for all the complaints lodged against the Uber and Ola managements. He said that the TSCBOA would soon convene its General Body meeting to decide the future course of action. (INN)

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