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
February 19,2024

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The Palestinian Hamas resistance movement has denounced Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque compound during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, warning that the measure will explode the whole situation.

“An outburst of anger is waiting to go off in the face of the occupying regime in response to any restrictions on worship at the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan,” Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, said on Sunday.

Earlier, Hamas had roundly condemned Israel’s plan to restrict Palestinians’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan, stating that the decision is a reflection of the Zionist crimes and the religious war waged by hardliner elements in the Israeli administration against the Palestinian people.

In a statement, the Gaza-based group said the restrictions would be a “violation of the freedom of worship” in the holy site, adding that the plan showed Israel’s intention to increase its attacks on the mosque during the Muslim fasting month.

The statement called on Palestinians in occupied East al-Quds, the occupied West Bank and the 1948-occupied territories to reject and resist this “criminal decision”, urging them to “take action and flock to al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday gave his green light to the recommendations of so-called national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and approved the restriction of Palestinians’ entry to the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

A limited number of Palestinians will reportedly be allowed to enter the mosque during the month.

Several Hebrew-language media outlets, including Keshet 12 television channel, reported in the last two days that Israel’s so-called internal security service, Shin Bet, had warned the Tel Aviv regime that prohibiting Palestinians from entering the al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan “could lead to major disturbances.”

The agency warned that this decision could cause more “dangerous” disruption than the eruption of tensions in al-Quds, the West Bank, and the 1948-occupied territories.

Since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have restricted Palestinian Muslims’ access to the al-Aqsa Mosque, particularly on Fridays.

Last Friday, despite Israeli restrictions, approximately 25,000 Palestinian worshippers were able to enter the mosque in the Old City of al-Quds to perform Friday prayers for the first time since the war.

Ramadan is expected to begin this year on or around March 10.

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News Network
February 22,2024

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Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has slammed the heads of Muslim states for failing to cut their relations with the Israeli occupation regime.

During a meeting with the participants at the 40th International Qur'an Competition in Tehran on Thursday, the Leader called on Muslim countries to openly express their opposition to Israel, sever ties with the regime and cut off support for it.

Ayatollah Khamenei also called on people in Muslim countries to press their governments to take stronger action on Gaza.

Ayatollah Khamenei described the Palestinians' plight in the Gaza Strip as the most important issue of the Muslim world today, adding, "Certainly, the Muslim world is mourning for Gaza."

The Leader emphasized that the resistance forces in Palestine and Gaza are acting in accordance with the Holy Qur'an and are standing against the enemy, but wondered whether Muslim countries and their leaders were implementing the Qur'anic teachings regarding the Gaza situation.

Ayatollah Khamenei said the people of Palestine will achieve a victory through God's assistance, noting that the Muslim world would witness the destruction of the "Zionist cancerous tumor" by God's grace.

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News Network
February 18,2024

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Amid the ongoing genocidal Israeli war against the Gaza Strip, the regime's forces have reportedly turned the largest functioning hospital in the coastal sliver into a "military base" besides detaining doctors and medical staff. 

"Occupation forces detained a large number of medical staff members inside Nasser Medical Complex, which they (the forces) turned into a military base," Gaza's health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said on Saturday.

The troops raided the hospital, which is located in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, on Thursday, attacking hundreds of displaced Palestinians, who were seeking shelter inside the facility from the ravages of the Israeli military campaign. 

Israel’s incursion into hospital has led to the deaths of many patients after electricity was severed and oxygen supplies cut, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.

The Israeli military has claimed that it was hunting for Palestinian fighters inside the hospital, and had so far arrested 100 suspects.

The military has been using the claim to attack and lay sieges on Gaza's hospitals ever since October 7, 2023, when it began the war against the territory in response to an operation staged by its resistance movements.

Nearly 29,000 Palestinians, mostly women, children, and adolescents, have died so far as a result of the brutal military onslaught.

Also on Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to carry out a ground invasion against the nearby southern Gaza city of Rafah, which is packed with hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees.

Netanyahu said critics calling for the regime not to mount military action against the city were effectively telling Tel Aviv to "lose the war."

Last week, Netanyahu ordered the Israeli military to evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of a planned ground operation.

The city has come to host some 1.5 million Palestinians, who have fled there from the warfare.

Aid organizations say Rafah's evacuation will be nearly impossible, given the scale of devastation elsewhere in Gaza and the huge number of people who have been trapped in the besieged area. 

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