Kaayum Pegu, the 20-year-old Literature student from Miranda House breathed her last this morning. She succumbed to severe injuries sustained five days ago when her Uber cab rammed into a truck in Noida.
From what looked like an everyday incident, the story narrated by friends of Kaayum who survived the accident took a turn when it was alleged that the driver was over speeding and did not slow down despite repeated requests.
In a country with population of 1.2 billion, life isn’t that precious after all. India is the second largest country on the population index (read: overpopulated and hence absolute zero value of a human life). Of course, a cow’s life is of much more importance here.
With the incentive (read: insensitive) schemes of Uber/Ola and other cab services in place and frequent accidents because of such schemes, we just re-iterate this fact again and again and again!
For those who are still confused or unaware, the leading cab services in India have certain incentive schemes which are offered to the drivers. According to one such scheme, for completing a certain number of rides, drivers are paid a certain amount of incentive money. There are different categories in this: Rs. 1600 for 8 rides, Rs. 2400 for 12 rides, Rs. 3200 to Rs. 3800 for 16 rides and so on.
On hearing this, it seems like a usual scheme in place. But what we don’t realize is the amount of danger such incentives put on the roads everyday!
In order to complete the target rides, lured by greed, these cab drivers work beyond their capacity. Many of them clock about 15-16 rides a day and for this they work for more than 12 hours a day at stretch. This is the exact reason for the increase in number of accidents involving Ola/Uber cabs recently.
No system in place to check this menace which has resulted in increase in the number of casualties on road costed another life. Many a times drivers are sleepy but still keep driving to complete the target. They risk not just their own lives but lives of people like Kaayum, people like you and me.
Following Kaayum’s accident, the driver had fled from the spot leaving behind the four DU students who were critically injured. Reportedly, the driver was also smoking while the ride from Greator Noida to Noida where he rammed the cab into a truck at around 3 a.m. in the morning.
This also questions the regulation process and the preventive measures that are taken by these companies before hiring someone as a driver.
When contacted, Uber reportedly gave out a statement expressing their condolences and supporting Kaayum’s family in whichever way possible, but is it this that Kaayum’s family, friends and we as a society really seek?
An innocent young student lost her life to an unregulated incentive scheme in place, a mere promise to pay for it and remember her in prayers solves the larger picture at hand?
Had we valued human lives being humans, we wouldn’t have lost a young life that could have been.
A young life which would have made all the difference.
A young life that mattered.
A young life to whom the odds didn’t favour.
You’d also like to read: The Bumpy Road Ahead For Uber
Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.