Taxi drivers serving KIA keep off roads following colleague's suicide

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(Eds: Recasts intro) Bengaluru, Mar 31 (PTI) Taxi drivers serving the city's Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) stayed off the roads on Wednesday after a colleague who had allegedly set himself ablaze died last night.

Pratap, 34, from Ramanagara, working with the Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation's airport taxi service, had allegedly set himself ablaze inside his car near the pick-up area of the airport on Tuesday, depressed over his financial troubles, police sources said.

They were trying to ascertain the exact cause,the sources added.

Aircraft rescue and fire-fighting team had rescued him and he was rushed to hospital, but he succumbed to injuries at midnight, they said.

According to airport taxi drivers, Pratap took the extreme step due to poor financial condition, poor business and inability to pay EMIs.

They said most taxi drivers, including those linked to Ola, Uber, KSDTC and other airport taxi services have stayed off the roads as a mark of protest following his death, as many of them are going through similar financial problems.

KIA, in a passenger advisory, said taxi services at the airport have been impacted and passengers are requested to use Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation buses to travel to or from the airport or make their own travel arrangements.

BMTC has deployed additional buses on the airport route to help passengers, official sources said.

Alleging that price war in the cab industry and government's 'apathy' has led to Pratap's death, former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy,in a series of tweets,said KSDTC was following taxi fare of Rs 24 per km fixed by the 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. PTI KSU SA APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR