A Karnataka-wide ban on Ola parent company ANI Technologies was lifted on Saturday night (March 23), after just over a day into the suspension.
Karnataka’s minister for Social Welfare, Priyank Kharge, took to Twitter to announce that the ban on the home-grown ride-hailing unicorn, has been lifted. Kharge also said that the government needs to update its policies to accommodate new innovations.
Ola was stopped from running cab operations in the state of Karnataka for allegedly violating the license conditions for running bike taxis and also violating government rules. On March 22, the Regional Transport Office suspended the license given to Ani Technologies and said that the company will not be able to run its aggregator service for any vehicles including cars, autos and bikes for the next six months.
The suspension order was issued to bike-taxi sharing Rapido as well.
Ola is yet to to issue an official confirmation regarding lifting of the ban till the time of publication of this report.
While the suspension came into effect on Friday, Ola users in Bengaluru told Inc42 that they were able to book cabs on Saturday and there was no disruption in services.
The ban followed a long-running point of contention between Ola and the Karnataka’s transport department over bike taxis. In February, 2019 the transport department had written to Ola and Rapido to stop their bike taxi services immediately.
Ola sent its reply on March 3, 2019. As the company’s reply was not satisfactory and did not provide any evidence which proved it did not violate norms, the Transport Department, as on March 18, 2019, has decided to suspend the license of Ola for a period of six months.
The notice has been issued due to violation of Section 11 (1) the Karnataka On Demand Transportation Technology Aggregators Rules 2016, owing which the Transport Department can decide to cancel the license of the cab aggregator as there is a violation of rules. Ola has a licence to operate taxis in the state from June 2016 to June 19, 2021.
In February Ola’s bikes were also seized after the secretary of the state transport authority, Narendra Holkar had reportedly directed officials to seize any such bikes if found and also penalise them.
Update: March 25 | 1:10 PM
On Monday, the ban on Ola was lifted by State Transport Department in lieu of INR 15 Lakh fine. The company spokesperson said, “We are glad that the issue stands resolved and we regret any inconvenience caused to our driver-partners and passengers since Friday. e look forward to continue working with the State, to help address the challenges of mobility. We are committed to creating and enhancing livelihood opportunities for millions of driver-partners in the time to come.”