Thane: The Maharashtra App based Transport Workers' Union (MAT) which is a private cab driver union wrote a letter to the Thane police and demanded a security for drivers from Ola company following the murder of Ola driver by five youths on May 26 at Shil Daighar Road.
On June 2, 2022, a letter from the union was addressed to Kalwa division Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Venkat Andhale which read, "We urge that you and your department Sir initiate a communication with the Ola company to hold them legally liable and responsible for this heinous crime that was committed on a lonely road on an Ola driver while on duty. On May 29 a 27 year-old ola driver from Ghatkopar Muhammad Ali was brutally killed on duty at a remote road in Diva."
Earlier, the Shil Daighar Police arrested four adults and one minor boy on May 30 for the alleged murder. The accused were identified as Atish Bhosale, Omkar Kasekar, Harshul Sheikh, Prashant Periaswami and one minor and they all were in an inebriated state when they attacked the 27-year-old driver.
The MAT president, Prashant Sawardekar said, "We thank the Thane police for the prompt action and arresting all the accused soon after the murder, but we need police support for our longstanding demand which is of driver's security. Also there should be a careful mapping of remote and uninhabited stretches of roads such as that in Diva which is under ACP Venkat Andhale's jurisdiction. Proper street lighting, CCTV cameras and police kiosks are also required."
Sawardekar said, " We also asked the police officials to stop the deplorable, illegal and malafide practice of the Ola company in trying to flash the drivers records the moment such and incident takes place."
Explaining in detail the flashing by Ola company Sawardekar informed, " Flashing is when the company deletes ride-details and the number of rides taken up by an employee. This act by the Ola company often leaves a blank record on driver performances and can lead to some people getting blacklisted. Even in Muhammad Ali's case as well his records were flashed even though he took up 3-4 rides that day. We successfully got a record of his work before it was flashed and we will fight for justice to him."
"The day after the incident we discussed the Ola & Uber and other cab company's tactic. The flashing tactics are used by the said companies to claim that the person was not working for the company when a certain incident occurred and this also affects the employee compensation" said Sawardekar.
The MAT after meeting the police officials from Thane will soon approach the labour department and other government authorities as well with a sustained campaign calling for a security code for drivers in general.
The attempts to get in touch with the Ola officials for getting their views on social security and the accountability of their drivers turned futile.