KOCHI: State Police Chief Loknath Behera on Tuesday submitted before the Kerala High Court that the police had initiated effective steps to protect the rights of online taxi operators and maintain law and order in the State.
It was also submitted that around 30 crimes were registered in the State in connection with disputes between drivers of online taxi operators such as Uber and Ola and conventional taxi operators. The submission was made in response to a petition seeking contempt of court action against the State Police Chief. Earlier, the court had asked the Police Department to provide adequate protection to online taxi operators.
The affidavit further stated that Inspector Generals of every Range had been strictly directed to comply with the court’s directive, and to deploy additional police force in places where online taxis operate, including airport, railway station and bus station.
The majority of the clashes between online taxi drivers and conventional taxi drivers were reported in Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi. The Thiruvananthapuram Range IG informed that 17 cases were registered, of which ten were chargesheeted. Kochi Range IG stated that ten cases were registered in the city, and chargesheets were filed in five of them.
The State Police Chief also submitted that drivers of local taxis and autorickshaws feared that online taxis, which charge much less from customers, posed a threat to the former’s survival. “It is such fear that prompts them to disrupt the services of online taxis. Another reason for the conflict is disputes over use of parking space at airports, railway stations and bus stations. However, the Police Department cannot take a decision with regard to parking space,” it was submitted.