Karnataka to give licence to e-bike taxi soon: Rs 25 for 5 km

News Network
December 7, 2022

Bengaluru: The Karnataka transport department has said it will soon issue a licence to Wicked Ride, the parent company of Bounce, to operate electric bike taxi services in the state. The state government has fixed the fare at Rs 25 for 5 km and Rs 50 for 10 km. The E-bike taxi services will be permitted to operate under the Karnataka Electric Bike Taxi Scheme, 2021.

According to officials at Bounce, the company applied for the licence to operate e-bike taxis a year ago, after the government notified the e-bike taxi scheme in 2021. The transport department Tuesday, December 6, held a discussion with Bounce and Blu Smart, regarding the application for a licence to operate e-bike taxis and e-ride-sharing services in the state. According to sources, other car and bike rental service companies were also part of different meetings with regard to licensing issues.

However, a senior transport official told indianexpress.com: “We will officially provide the licence and announce the operations of e-bike taxis in the next two-three days. The e-bike taxi operators will get a licence after they comply and submit the required documents as per the state’s e-bike taxi scheme. The Karnataka State Transport Authority chairman will take a final call on the same. After which, the operators will be given time to prepare for rolling out their services…”

According to the e-bike taxi scheme, the licence will be valid for a period of five years from the date of issue. It also mandates that the distance between the origin and the destination trip shall not be more than 10 km, among other stipulations.

Bounce officials stated that under the e-bike taxi service, the company will introduce a new type of scooter and will also allow women riders to be part of the service.

M Manjunath, president of Adarsha Auto and Taxi Driver’s union, said: “We vehemently oppose this decision of the state government. It is clearly against the interests of poor autorickshaw drivers. Already, apps like Rapido have destroyed the livelihoods of auto-rickshaw drivers by operating illegally. The introduction of e-bike taxis with such low fares is going to devastate the auto drivers’ livelihood further.”

Dr Ashish Verma, a Bengaluru-based mobility expert, said: “The introduction of e-bike taxis has its own advantages and disadvantages. While the service can enhance the last and first-mile connectivity from metro stations, reduce pollution, and encourage public transportation, among other factors… Road fatalities and safety concerns still haunt the efficient use of two-wheelers in the country. Also, the e-bike taxi services can further dent the livelihood of auto drivers. In addition, covering long distances might also be a problem.”

Meanwhile, the transport department gave a month’s time to cab aggregators to comply with Karnataka On-Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules, 2018. Cab aggregators Ola and Uber applied for renewal of licences for their cab services Tuesday.

According to the transport department, cab aggregators were yet to comply with rules like installing panic buttons, GPS-enabled tracking, and setting up a control room and grievance cell, among others.

The transport department has given Ola a month’s time, and Uber one-and-a-half months’ time to comply with the rules, until which their licenses won’t be renewed. However, the dispute on auto services ‘illegally’ operated by them has continued to be a sub-judice matter.

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News Network
January 27,2023

Raichur: A 37-year-old staff nurse of the government hospital died of heart attack while performing a dance during the Republic Day function at Sindhanur taluk stadium on Thursday.

Mahantesh Pujar, a staffer at ART centre in the taluk hospital, collapsed while performing Kolata (a traditional folk dance of the state) at the 74th Republic Day programme. 

Sindhanur CMC commissioner Manjunath Gundur rushed Pujar to the hospital in his car. Pujar was declared dead upon arrival by the doctors.

Pujar is survived by his wife and three daughters. His final rites were performed at his native Diddagi village in the taluk on Thursday evening.

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News Network
January 20,2023

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Bengaluru, Jan 20: In bizarre case of road rage, a woman drove her SUV with a helpless businessman hanging on the bonnet for three kilometres in Bengaluru’s Jnana Bharathi Nagar after a heated argument today. The man, unable to get off, held on to the bonnet.

The accused has been identified as Priyanka, a married woman. In a complaint to the police, the businessman, Darshan S, alleged Priyanka's Tata Nexon collided with his Maruti Suzuki Swift which sparked an argument. Meanwhile, a counter case was also filed. 

The incident

When, Darshan, a resident of Mariyappanapalya, was on his way to work, a woman driving in a SUV (Tata Nexon) blocked his way at the junction near Mangalore Independent PU College on Ullal Main Road in West Bengaluru around 10:15 am though the signal had turned green.

Darshan asked her if she could not see the signal. The woman identified as Priyanka, in response, showed him the middle finger and said an expletive before driving off. Darshan followed the SUV and intercepted her vehicle in Ullal and asked her to apologise to him for abusing and giving her the finger.

Darshan and his friends Yeshwanth, Vinay and his brother Sujan reached the spot and insisted the woman get out of the vehicle. Her husband Pramod assaulted Darshan and threatened him with dire consequences.

Police reached the spot and asked both Priyanka and Darshan to come to the police station. Priyanka and her friend refused to visit the station. They drove the car in a bid to escape. Darshan tried to stop the SUV and climbed on top of the bonnet. Priyanka drove Darshan for more than three km despite him requesting to stop the vehicle as he may fall and die.

Public who witnessed the incident followed Priyanka’s vehicle and managed to stop the vehicle near Sankalpa hospital, Ullal Main Road at around 11 am.

Priyanka, her husband Pramod and their friend Nitish are booked for attempt to murder and other charges.

In a counter complaint, Pramod stated that he and his wife Priyanka were returning after visiting a hospital when they were taking a turn in the junction a man in a car (Maruti Swift) came on the wrong side and caused traffic jam. The man driving the car identified as Darshan abused his wife. When she pointed her finger at Darshan, he followed them and intercepted their SUV. Pramod claims he called the police control room 112.

Meanwhile Darshan called his friends. Pramod alleges that Darshan and others assaulted him and tore his wife’s clothes. When they were heading to the police station as suggested by the policemen at the spot Darshan climbed on the SUV's bonnet and broke the car glass and door. Pramod alleges that Darshan refused to get off the bonnet. Jnanabarathi police are investigating both cases.

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News Network
January 17,2023

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Bengaluru: The Karnataka State Contractors’ Association has alleged that they are being pestered by the Ministers and ruling BJP MLAs to pay them bribe.

The Association members released before reporters here a purported conversation on WhatsApp and the audio of the conversation with the MLAs seeking money.

According to them, at least 14 MLAs and three or four Ministers were involved in the alleged extortion.

The Association working president Manjunath accused an MLA with arm-twisting an assistant executive engineer to collect bribe from the contractors.

He claimed that he paid money to the MLA directly and also through engineers. “I’ve been giving the bribe to the BJP MLA in installments since 2019,” Manjunath alleged.

The contractor claimed that he had paid Rs 20 lakh for a hospital construction work, Rs 12.5 lakh for PWD work, Rs 10 lakh during the COVID first wave and Rs 12 lakh during the second.

This apart, he paid Rs 22 lakh for the formation of a residential layout and for its approval from a competent authority in Chitradurga.

Manjunath charged the said MLA with demanding Rs 30 lakh as ‘advance commission.’ The Association’s charges come at a time when the Congress mounted an attack on the BJP accusing it of running an alleged 40 per cent commission government.

The Congress has been referring to an incident wherein a contractor committed suicide accusing the then Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister K S Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per commission.

The BJP, however, dismissed the allegations by saying there were no credible evidences to act on its partymen. 

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