Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha government has recently notified guidelines to regulate the app-based vehicle aggregators in the State where the maximum focus has been given to the safety of passengers, especially women.

However, several road safety experts have raised questions over the proper implementation of the guidelines.

As per the guidelines, online cab companies can’t do business in the State without a license. Detailed information about the drivers will be provided to the Transport Department. Call centers will work on 24x7 hour basis to address the grievances of the people. Online cab companies like Ola, Uber and Odicab will be under the scanner of the government.

All the app-based vehicles will be registered with the State Transport Authority (STA) for granting of the license. Transportation Department has notified Odisha On-Demand Transportation Aggregators Guidelines in this regard. Odisha is the sixth State in the country to bring such guidelines.

The guidelines further stated that the online aggregators have to submit a security amount of Rs 1 lakh before STA for running around 1,000 cabs and bikes. Similarly, Rs 10 lakh needs to be deposited for running 10,000 vehicles. Their licenses will be renewed in every five years. All the facts about the drivers will be displayed in every cab and two-wheelers running under the aggregator. Moreover ‘TAXI’ will be written on yellow boards on every car and bikes.

As per STA Joint Commissioner Dipti Ranjan Patra, the guidelines have been notified keeping in view of the security of the passengers.

“The grievance redressal method of passengers and the kind of drivers who are running the vehicles have been clearly mentioned in the guidelines. The safety and security of the passengers have been given priority. Keeping all these things in mind, Odisha has notified the guidelines as the sixth State in the country," said Patra.

Though several passengers have welcomed the move, many road safety experts are apprehensive about its proper implementation.

“Only framing policy will not help passengers. Proper link-up with RTO offices and SP offices is important for its implementation. Proper GPS system should be in place to track vehicles. These methods should be adopted properly. Many policies are framed only for advertisement without any result,” said road safety expert Subrat Nanda.

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