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No decision yet to ban Uber in Maharashtra, operators told to submit driver database

The state is yet to take a decision on banning Uber, but has warned operators that violations would be dealt with strictly

Sanjay Jog  |  Mumbai 

Maharashtra's transport department on Wednesday directed operators of radio taxis and aggregators to submit data on background verification of drivers by Thursday, and to also submit an action plan on consumer safety and emergency procedures by the yearend.

However, it has not taken any decision on ban on Uber on the grounds that the winter session of the state legislature is currently underway in Nagpur.

"As the winter session of the Maharahstra legislature is currently on in Nagpur, I cannot reveal decision on ban on Uber . A formal announcement is possible in the legislature," Transport Commissioner Mahesh Zagde told Business Standard.

At a meeting earlier today with representatives of Uber, TaxiForSure, Meru, Book My Car, TabCab, Cabzo, Ola and Priyadarshani, Zagde told the attendees that if an incident like the Delhi rape by a Uber taxi driver occurs, the chairman and directors of the company would also be made an accused and would have a first information report (FIR) filed against them.

Zagde also said that Uber general manager Shailesh Sawlani, who was present at the meeting, has been told that the transport department was not happy with its services in Mumbai and Pune, the only cities in Maharashtra where the facility is available.

“When I asked Sawlani to submit data with regard to background verification of drivers, he expressed his inability to do so. Thereafter, I told him if Uber cannot abide by country's law then they should immediately suspend their services," he said.

Radio and web-based taxi operators have been told to put in place necessary measures including GPS – which web-based taxi operators already insist on – from January 15 next year, failing which action will be taken against them.

Zagde said that there will be zero tolerance on safety and security and that the operators would have strictly adhere to regulations.

Earlier, Maharashtra transport minister Diwakar Raote said the state government would follow the Union home ministry's advisory to ban app-based taxi services, including Uber, after due process. However, he shared Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari's view that banning such services was not the solution.

"I will see whether or not the state government has powers to ban on its own services of app based taxies and others," he said. The Delhi government has already banned web-based taxi services.

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First Published: Wed, December 10 2014. 18:49 IST