A cab driver who allegedly set himself ablaze died last night, following which taxi services to the city’s Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) was disrupted on Wednesday as they stayed off the road.
34-year-old Pratap, from Ramanagra, was working with the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation’s airport taxi service. He had allegedly set himself ablaze inside his car near the pick-up area of the airport on Tuesday. Pratap was depressed over his financial troubles, police sources told PTI. However, the exact cause is yet to be ascertained.
As he set himself on fire, aircraft rescue and fire-fighting team rushed to rescue him and he was taken to hospital. However, he succumbed to injuries at midnight.
Airport taxi drivers said Pratap took the extreme step due to his poor financial condition, poor business and inability to pay EMIs. They said most taxi drivers include those linked to Ola, Uber, KSDTC and other airport taxi services stayed off the roads as a mark of protest following his death, as many of them are said to be going through such financial issues.
In a passenger advisory, KIA said taxi services at the airport have been impacted and passengers are requested to use the Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) buses to travel to or from the airport or make their own travel arrangements. Meanwhile, BMTC has deployed additional buses on the airport route to help passengers.
In a series of tweets, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy alleged that price war in the cab industry and government’s apathy has led to Pratap’s death. He said KSDTC was following taxi fare of Rs 24 per km fixed by the state government. Taxi aggregators, however, were offering fares of Rs 9
per km to attract passengers, resulting in business loss for KSDTC drivers, he added. He urged the state government to intervene and come to the rescue of the taxi drivers.