Ola ban in Karnataka: Minister says will have it ‘resolved’ by Saturday in tweet to YourStory

Karnataka Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge confirms a resolution to the six-month ban on Ola in the state may come as early as Saturday in response to a tweet by YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.

Karnataka Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge

Hours after news unfolded of a six-month ban imposed on ride hailing company Ola in Karnataka, the state’s Social Welfare Minister Priyank Kharge confirmed, on Twitter, that a resolution to this issue may come as early as Saturday, in his response to a tweet by YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma.

Late Friday evening, Minister Priyank Kharge tweeted in response to Shradha,

“Have spoken to Sri. CM of Karnataka (H.D. Kumaraswamy) and Sri Dr Parameshwara (Deputy CM) and will have it resolved by tomorrow (Saturday). Our government will maintain a healthy balance between investors, industries, consumers, and welfare within the ambit of law.”

The Minister was responding to a tweet by YourStory’s Shradha Sharma, where she highlighted the likely impact of the Karnataka transport department’s decision to suspend Ola’s licence for six months. She wrote, “Ban on Olacabs: shouldn’t it be revoked? 75,000 cab drivers and their families will suffer and so will millions of consumers.”

In a letter dated March 18, the Regional Transport Department issued a notice to ANI Technologies, Ola's parent company, asking it to suspend its app-based cab services in the city for operating its bike-taxi services in violation of licence conditions.

Related read: Ola gets banned in Bengaluru for 6 months, cannot operate cabs, autos or bikes

The two-page letter says the Karnataka transport department will be suspending the company's license for the next six months, in effect banning all its services. The department's notice also stated that the app-based services are against the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Act.

Responding to this notice, Ola said in a statement, “This notification is unfortunate, and we look forward to an opportunity to address these concerns directly with state officials to find a solution for our driver-partners and millions of Ola users in Karnataka.”

Ola further added,

“Despite other companies continuing to operate illegally, Ola halted our bike taxi experiment weeks ago, instead seeking the state’s cooperation to develop a legal framework for a pilot that will continue to take advantage of emerging opportunities in the mobility economy.”

The company also said it has been working closely with authorities on this topic, responding to queries and making proactive representations to the ministry. “We are evaluating all options to find an amicable solution wherein hundreds of thousands of driver-partners in the state of Karnataka can continue to work and serve the mobility needs of our citizens,” it said.

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