Day 2: Heavy traffic on Delhi roads, taxi drivers continue protest

  • HT correspondent, New Delhi
  • Updated: May 03, 2016 13:35 IST
Taxi drivers protesting in Delhi. (ANI)

Diesel taxi-drivers held motorists to ransom and brought the traffic to a halt in the capital for a second consecutive day as they blocked major traffic points on Tuesday, protesting against a ban on diesel cabs, the latest initiative aimed at improving air quality in the world’s most polluted capital.

According to the Delhi traffic police, the Delhi-Noida direct flyway, Dhaula Kuan, Mahipalpur and other routes leading towards Gurgaon were grid locked since morning after the Supreme Court on Saturday ordered taxis run on the dirty fuel off the city’s roads, refusing industry requests for more time to switch to greener compressed natural gas (CNG).

The traffic police had deployed personnel to get the glitch sorted out, however the situation did not improve.

Taxi drivers shouted slogans at Mahipalpur, leading to a major traffic jam at the Delhi-Gurgaon border.

They have threatened to intensify the protest.

The traffic police also reported road blockade between Mehrauli-Badarpur road and Saket metro station in South Delhi and towards Karkari more.

Read more: Delhi: Traffic nightmare follows crackdown on diesel cabs

Even the Delhi-Noida expressway was blocked by taxi drivers.

On Monday, the first working day after the Supreme Court refused to extend the deadline for diesel-run taxis in the national capital to switch to CNG, over 140 cabs were fined and 30 impounded. Police have said heavy fines and impounding of diesel vehicles will continue to enforce the top court order.

This led to protests across the city bringing Delhi to a standstill.

Sanjay Samrat, president of Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association (DTTTA), said if Delhi government takes action, the taxi drivers will restart their agitation.

“Traffic police have assured and till now our drivers are on road and not facing harassment. But enforcement team of Delhi government has said they will take action against diesel cabs. If this happen, we will protest again. We have gathered at Lado Sarai and will decide on protest around noon after assessing the situation,” he said.

The situation on Monday prompted the Centre to say that it will request the apex Court to reconsider the decision.

“The government has decided to request the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision on ban. The ban has created an unprecedented situation of thousands of taxis getting off road and people facing severe hardships,” Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters.

The congestion in the wake of protests largely affected thousands of office-goers who travel between Delhi and Gurgaon, linked by NH-8, and the traffic helpline was bombarded with calls from distressed commuters, officials said. The protesters, included the diesel cab drivers with All India tourist permits (AITP), who are exempted from the ban provided they operate outside NCR.

After extending the deadline twice, the Supreme Court had on Saturday refused to give more time to cab operators to convert to CNG and put a ban on diesel cabs in the city from May 1.

The court exempted taxis with all-India tourist permit (AITP) from switching to CNG if they operate outside NCR.

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.

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