Commuters in the national capital are witnessing massive jams on Monday after diesel cab drivers began protests against the Supreme Court’s decision to de-road diesel cabs from May 1. The congestion largely affected thousands of office-goers who travel between Delhi and Gurgaon, linked by NH-8.
“The taxi drivers on Monday morning blocked both the carriageways on Rajokri flyover near the old Delhi toll booth on Gurgaon to Dhaula Kuan road,” said a traffic police official
The ban on plying of 27,000 diesel-run taxis in Delhi came into force on Sunday, with the authorities launching a crackdown against violators, impounding errant vehicles.
Supreme Court on Saturday had refused to give additional time to taxi operators to switch to the CNG and banned the diesel-based taxis to run in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) from May 1.
Traffic Police and Delhi Government’s transport department launched a crackdown against the violators.
“We have launched an intensive crackdown against diesel-run taxis plying in Delhi-NCR following the Supreme Court’s order. The crackdown was launched in the morning which continued late in the night,” said a senior government official.
Amid the shortage of taxis, commuters are facing problems as the app based taxi providers brought back controversial surge pricing.
Delhi Transport Miinister, Gopal Rai took note of the excessive charging and warned the aggregators of government action. Delhi government has launched help line number to take action against violators.
According to Delhi transport department, about 60,000 taxis are registered in the national capital of which 27,000 run on diesel. Around 2,000 diesel-run taxis had converted into CNG mode in the last two months.
The SC order is not applicable to cabs having All-India Permits but most of the diesel taxis ply on local routes. The ban will essentially bring down the availability of cabs in the capital
On the first day of the restriction traffic police charged challan’s from those plying in diesel cars.
Sunita Naraian of the Centre for Science and Environment said that diesel taxi owners who have registered their taxis under the All India Tourist Permit (AITP) have misused the exemption given for AITP using Diesel cabs.
“Now AITP is only allowed for taxis which are registered with Tourism Department and used for Tourism and that we accept will require travel outside the NCR region as well. But there is total misuse of that.,” Narain said on the sidelines of an event.
The Supreme Court, in 2000, had banned the diesel taxis and had said it its order that only CNG taxis will operate in Delhi.