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Ola, Uber drivers say they are exhausted, fear being wiped out

Drivers' strike in Hyderabad | Credit: IFAT

Rajesh Kumar* doesn’t have many enemies in life. But, Uber, for which he drives a cab everyday, is starting to look like one, he says. Kumar was one of the 40-odd Uber and Ola drivers who protested at Jantar Mantar in Delhi last week, against the ride-sharing companies' various policies. These drivers want the government to intervene and fix the fares for Ola and Uber, like it does for other taxis in the country. They also wanted respite from paying road tax for at least two years, and for the prices of petrol and diesel to immediately go down. “It’s become a very challenging life,” Kumar told MediaNama, as he sighed behind his mask. “I leave home everyday, not knowing how long I’ll be driving, not knowing where I’ll be driving. On most days, I come home without having made enough money to justify the hours I spent on the road.” It had been four hours since he was driving his cab when he spoke to us, and he was staring at another ten hours or so on the road. Repaying the monthly instalments for his car, a Swift Dzire, he said, doesn’t come cheap, and he also has to take care of his family. Kumar’s family of four—a wife, and two daughters—lives in Uttar Pradesh’s Orai, a small town located around 200 kilometres from the state’s capital, Lucknow. He doesn’t get to see them many times a year. “I’m able to send around Rs 20,000 back home every month. You…

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