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Kolkata: People travelling by Uber app cabs in Kolkata were today severely inconvenienced as the drivers switched off the air-conditioner at the behest of the cab owners.

The cab owners, under the aegis of the West Bengal Online Cab Operators Guild, had given a call for switching off the AC, once passengers had boarded a cab, to protest the alleged low-profit margin.

Thus, starting from around the office hours this morning, owners of Uber cabs took to the streets at major locations in the city, including Esplanade. They stopped Uber cabs that were ferrying passengers and made the driver switch off the AC.

The owners also handed over a leaflet to the drivers and passengers explaining why they were switching off the AC.

Indranil Banerjee, general secretary of the Guild, said that this they did as a symbolic protest to make Uber management understand that it cannot make money at the cost of the cab owners.

According to him, the state government has fixed a fare of Rs 18.75 a km for AC cabs. But in a bid to woo passengers, Uber is offering a ride at Rs 8-9 a km and extracting money in the form of surge price.

As a result, at the end of the day, a cab owner is getting a “negligible share” of the fare, while Uber is “minting money” in the name of facilitating and service charges.

Banerjee said that even after today’s protest if Uber does not sort out the issue, the owners will go for a bigger agitation.