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Not foreign vs local, it’s about abiding by the law, says Ola COO

Pranay Jivrajka, COO, Ola

Pranay Jivrajka, COO, Ola

In a response to Uber’s blog post that said it is as foreign as its competitors, cab aggregator Ola has said the debate is not about nationalist versus foreign, instead it is about abiding by the law of the land.

In a blog post authored by COO Pranay Jivrajka, Ola has hit out at rival Uber saying that the debate is about who is respectful of Indian laws.

“Isn’t a company like Alibaba, run by a local entrepreneur like Jack Ma, ‘Chinese,’ despite having a majority of its shareholding from international investors? Aren’t the cutting edge technology solutions, high-value jobs and internet ecosystem that Alibaba has built, invaluable assets for China? Jivrajka asked in the blog post.

The response by Ola comes a day after Uber took to a blog post in a response to Ola’s submission in the Karnataka High Court, raising allegations against Uber’s business ethics and disregard for customer safety. In the submission, Ola also alleged that Uber is a ‘foreign’ company profiteering by bypassing Indian laws.

According to Ola, it is the responsibility of business entities to work in harmony with the government in a partnership mode rather than taking a confrontational approach.

Jivrajka said Ola has always worked with the government as a matter of principle. “Ola Bike in Gurgaon chose to operate within the regulatory framework. In spite of having an opportunity to conduct business legally, our competition chose to run on private white number plates, illegally. Similarly, they continue to operate white number plate cars under their ‘Commute’ offering,” Jivrajka said.

The ‘card on file’ payment system, launched by Uber during its initial phase of operations in India,

was in gross violation of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) regulations, according to Ola.

“It took an ultimatum from the RBI governor to make them fall in line. Ola, respecting the law of the land, chose not to do this and had to face a significant business disadvantage of customers moving away and loss of market-share for over a year,” Jivrajka said.

Email queries sent to Uber seeking its comments did not elicit a response at the time of filing this report.

The two cab aggregators are respondents to a petition filed by the section of drivers working for both Ola and Uber, after the Karnataka government ordered a crackdown on cabs belonging to Ola and Uber over surge pricing during April-May this year.

The petition challenges new cab operator rules including a ban on surge pricing and capping of fare. However, Ola obtained its licence under the new regulation on June 20.

Uber, on the other hand, has been facing tough roadblock as the regional transport officer refused to accept its documents citing shortcomings and failure to comply with the law.

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