A protest taken out by around 100 diesel cab drivers near Shiv Murti on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway gave rise to a major traffic jam on Tuesday. Its effects were felt all the way till RTR Flyover and Shankar Vihar in Delhi, and Rajokri in Gurgaon.
The jam began when the taxi drivers converged on the expressway around 9.20 am. Though Delhi police officers forced the agitators to retreat, they left a few cabs behind on the main carriageway and one on the service lane. This obstructed vehicular movement on the route, causing most of its lanes to choke up.
A crane deployed by the highway operator to clear the blockage was forcibly stopped by the agitators. Finally, after repeated appeals to the taxi drivers went in vain, police officers physically removed the vehicles after breaking their windows.
Ongoing clashes between the taxi drivers and police officers also hindered traffic movement.
In a bid to improve the air quality in the National Capital Region, the Supreme Court on Saturday refused to extend the April 30 deadline fixed for the conversion of all diesel and petrol-run taxis to CNG — effectively banning the operation of all such vehicles in the region. The move evoked widespread protests by taxi operators, causing traffic jams on many arterials roads of Delhi and its surrounding areas.
Meanwhile, commuters continued to suffer. Soonit Roy, who is employed with a private firm, said: “My office is located in Sector 30, and I commute to work by our office cab every day. It usually takes me about an hour to get there, but commuting has been a nightmare for the past two days. Because of a three-hour traffic jam on Monday, I reached my workplace only after 11 am. The story was the same today. The whole of NH-8 is choked because of this protest by taxi drivers. The jam stretched all the way to Dhaula Kuan.”
Ashish Kapoor, an MNC employee, said the traffic authorities should have been more proactive in preventing the traffic jam. “The cops acted only after the protest began in full swing… they could have controlled it in the very beginning. I had to take half-day leave because I reached office almost three hours late,” he complained.
A similar protest on the DND Flyway affected traffic between Noida and Delhi from 9 am to 10.30 am, resulting in vehicular congestion on Yamuna bridge. Taking note of the situation, the DND management and Noida Police diverted many motorists towards Kalindikunj.
Agitating taxi drivers had blocked the Delhi-Noida traffic for 15-20 minutes on Monday.