Apprehending a loss of $1 billion in three weeks if the ban on diesel cabs in Delhi-NCR continues, business process management firms will move the Supreme Court seeking relief.
“There will be a potential $ billion loss to the business process management (BPM) sector if the ban on diesel cabs continues for 2-3 weeks,” PTI quoted Sangeeta Gupta, senior vice-president of Nasscom, as saying in New Delhi. Nasscom is the apex IT industry body.
“On an average 65% employees reside in Delhi and work in Gurgaon and Noida round-the-clock. The firms cannot risk the safety of the employees, specially the 38% women staffers. The court should at least exempt cabs attached to private firms at night as in the day the people can still use public transport,” Gupta said.
Industry representatives from over 150 firms in NCR will ask the Delhi and Haryana governments and the Supreme Court to defer the deadline for phasing out diesel cabs. They want exemption for employees picked and dropped during night shifts and permits for cabs of IT industry to avoid challans.
“We support the Supreme Court for taking steps to reduce pollution. But banning diesel-run cabs is unfair without strengthening public transport and providing adequate number of CNG filling stations. The ban is adversely affecting the employees, specially people working in night shifts and women,” said Raman Roy, vice-chairman Nasscom and MD, Quatrro.
The Supreme Court on April 30 had refused to extend the deadline for converting all diesel-run cabs in Delhi-NCR to CNG. Since most of the cabs were yet to switch over to CNG, the ban has led to an acute shortage of vehicles, hitting industry that provides pick or drop facilities to its employees.
To cope with the contingency, the firms are taking a number of steps including providing pick and drop facility to only women staff, guest house accommodation, travel reimbursements and even spreading mattresses on the office floor. But officials said these cannot be done permanently and the government must ensure smooth conversion of diesel-run vehicles to CNG.
“As an industry, we are perhaps the cleanest, least polluting and most compliant. If the appropriate infrastructure such as enough CNG stations and factory-fitted CNG vehicles are made, we can switch over quickly,” said Vidya Srinivasan, senior vice-president, Genpact.
The option of CNG-run shuttle buses does not guarantee a doorstep drop for employees. This is against the Shops and Establishment Act, which mandates a pick up and drop for employees working in night shift.