Cabbie's death triggers protest at airport

About 2,500 cab drivers at the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) have gone on a strike from Sunday morning in protest against what they describe as the apathy of BIA Limited (BIAL) towards cab drivers.

Sources said that the drivers decided to go on strike after one of their own, Maruti Prasanna, 38, a cab driver with Meru Cabs, suffered from low-blood pressure, leaving him in critical condition at the airport taxi stand at about 10.45 am on Sunday morning.

According to Papanna, a local leader of cab drivers, the other drivers asked BIAL authorities for an ambulance to rush Prasanna to a hospital. “However, BIAL authorities were hesitant to provide an ambulance,” Papanna said. “It was inhuman.

Later, after much convincing on our part, they finally agreed to provide an ambulance — which then took 48 minutes to show up. By that point, we had panicked and rushed Prasanna to a hospital in one of our taxis. Sadly, he died on the way.”

Papanna said Prasanna could have been saved had the BIAL authorities provided an ambulance in time.

The death has triggered a flash protest by cab drivers at the airport. About 2,500 cabs are still parked at the airport. The cab drivers are now demanding that the BIAL pay compensation of at least Rs 10 lakh to the family of the deceased.

Association speaks

The BIAL’s actions have also earned criticism from Radhakrishna Holla, General Secretary of Bangalore Tourist Taxi Owners’ Association. The BIAL was in the wrong and acted in an inhuman way in the incident,  Holla said and added that Prasanna had paid to enter the airport and BIAL was morally and legally obligated to provide emergency medical aid on its premises.

“But BIAL is denying that it has anything to do with this incident. It is condemnable. Also if BIAL cannot provide emergency medical service like an ambulance in time, then what are the international standards we talking about?” Holla sought to know.

Repeated attempts by Deccan Herald to contact BIAL officials yielded no results.
According to T R Suresh, DCP (North-East), Prasanna died of a heart attack. He said the cab driver hailed from Madhugiri, Tumkur district and was a resident of 8th Mile, Peenya.

He added that the protest was peaceful and that no cases have been registered.

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