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Travel agents throw rules to wind

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Travel Agents Throw Rules to Wind. Employing temporary drivers without checking antecedents, leading to untoward incidents like kidnapping, molestation and even rape

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Employing temporary drivers without checking antecedents, leading to untoward incidents like kidnapping, molestation and even rape

Hyderabad: In a dismaying development, two executives of Victor Logistics Private Limited, the travel agency located in Madhapur, made contradictory statements on whether the agency made any antecedent verification of the cab driver who was caught ‘filming’ a techie while she dozed off in the front seat of the cab on Tuesday.

Earlier, a middle-level executive of the company, where Md Abdul Rasheed, the driver who was arrested for the voyeuristic act, confessed that they had not conducted a background check on the driver. A lower-level executive of the same company though, had a contradictory statement, “We checked the background details of Rasheed, a resident of Tolichowki. We employed him on an ad-hoc basis and for the past three months we have been paying him salary on a daily basis.”

Nowadays with the concept of ‘call drivers’ in vogue, companies in business are finding it difficult to get drivers on a permanent basis. Though this ad-hoc or call-driver service proved a deterrent to travel agents, they had peace of mind as they did not need to pay the drivers security benefits like PF and ESI, a city-based travel agent said adding that permanent drivers were normally paid Rs 10,000, but they no longer were willing to work, as many of them used to a few years ago.

So the travel agents, just to save some extra bucks, are putting customers’ lives at risk, especially women, by hiring temporary drivers. “Due to shortage of drivers, we agents sometimes prefer call drivers paying them on hourly or daily basis because we have made a commitment to companies,” a Madhapur-based travel agent said. Though, the SHE teams acted promptly and warded off a gruesome incident on Tuesday, a few senior officials refused to talk on the issue when asked about their reaction on travel agents recruiting temporary cab drivers.

When contacted, DCP (Malkajgiri) R Rama Rajeshwari directed us to talk to DCP (Madhapur). Despite umpteen attempts to contact DCP (Madhapur) Karthikeya, the officer was not available for comments.

Another senior police officer of Cyberabad said that they checked only cabs which had Cyberabad safety stickers and had records of those.

By Victor Rao

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