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Chandigarh Cracks Down on Ola and Uber: A Look at the State Transport Authority’s Licensing Row

Chandigarh’s transport authority move to hold Ola, Uber operations but the latter returns with a stay order from the High Court.

What’s the news: Chandigarh’s State Transport Authority (STA) issued notices to Ola and Uber cab aggregator platforms to stop operations in the Union Territory for failing to get a license under the Motor Vehicle Aggregator Guidelines, reported the Indian Express. As per MediaNama sources, Uber filed a petition against the government order and got a stay against the same on December 12, 2023.

Government says license application still under consideration: As per the report, the two companies were granted licenses for running taxis in 2022 which expired on November 4. The companies submitted applications for licenses again, which are still under consideration. Until then, state authorities via email directed Ola and Uber to pause their operations or face legal action under the Motor Vehicles Act. The report also said that the companies are yet to deposit around Rs 6 crore entry and license fees to the Chandigarh administration.

Uber argues order is not in line with the guidelines: Challenging the order in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Uber argued that the government authorities have not followed the aggregator guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Accordingly, the court directed the government that “no coercive steps shall be taken till the next date of hearing” which is December 22, 2023.

Recent overhaul of cab aggregator regulations: There have been many such changes in the regulations of the vehicle aggregator sector across different states in recent months. Recently in November, the Delhi government too issued the “Delhi Motor Vehicle Aggregator and Delivery Service Provider Scheme 2023” that asked all aggregator companies to use electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. Before that, it had banned the plying of two-wheelers for commercial operations. Last year, Karnataka and Maharashtra also imposed restrictions on aggregate ride platforms for plying autorickshaws or bike taxis in their state respectively.

While stakeholders pointed out that some policies like the EV scheme will likely put undue pressure on these companies, government entities state that policies like aggregator guidelines will create a regulatory framework for these groups.

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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