The cab aggregator Ola on Sunday rejected the driver registration application of veteran driver Kandasamy, stating his name to be the only disqualifying factor. Ever since cab aggregators took over the Indian market, the monthly income of drivers like Kandasamy has gone for a toss. Kandasamy, who hails from the Jayanagar taluk of Bangalore has over 20 years of experience as a cab driver, however, he belonged to the category of drivers who despised cab aggregation. But after much pressure from his bossy wife and well-wishers, Kandasamy decided to register with Ola, only to find that their recent policy update has made it compulsory for drivers to have Manjunath/Manjunatha as their first name.
This came as a shocker to Kandasamy and many others who were quick to pop up the most hackneyed question of the century ‘what’s there in a name?’. However, the response from Ola came within a day and to a certain extent it was a convincing one. “We have notified our existing drivers to change their names to Manjunatha as part of the recent policy update. Our driver tracking mechanism is programmed in such a way that it first detects the driver registered as Manjunath before moving on to others,” said Francis Duncan, Head of India Operations. Upon further enquiry, Duncan revealed that this becomes wearisome for customers as the system skips a driver in close proximity and looks out for a Manjunath, who might be 25 minutes away from the point of booking.
Fakingnews team on Monday visited the technology center of Ola to have a closer look at the situation inside. The engineers at the technology center dodged most of the questions at first but ended up exposing the story behind the erroneous code after they went out to have a smoke with our journalist Nida. The company in its initial days had hired a small-time programmer named Manjunath to develop their application. Manjunath who was not offered a salary hike during the first appraisal session decided to mess with the codes he had developed, before putting down the papers. He tactically placed the word ‘Manjunath’ in hundred different places in the coding sheet that even experienced programmers can’t rectify. Following this, a dedicated team was set up in Ola to contact Manjunath at timed intervals and offer him lucrative salary and roles, but to no avail.
From the technology center our reporters headed out to Kandasamy’s home to find out his next plans. Unfortunately, Kandasamy had left for the corporation office along with the documents for name change by the time they had reached.
His wife Lakshmi maintained that there’s nothing in a name and it doesn’t matter if he comes back home as Manjunatha or Ranganatha. It has also been reported that many members of the driver union who were against cab aggregators have followed suit. The head of the driver’s union for Bannergatta said ‘The name changing spree that originated in UP is spreading across the country like a wild fire. If the names of cities can be changed overnight, what’s there in a person’. After wrapping up the interview, our journalist Rony walked out from the scene with a drop of tear rolling down his chubby cheek.