As protesting taxi drivers created a traffic chaos in Delhi on Monday, the Centre said it will request the Supreme Court to reconsider the ban on plying of diesel cabs in the national capital.
“The government has decided to request the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision. The ban has created an unprecedented situation as thousands of taxis getting off road and people facing severe hardships,” transport minister Nitin Gadkari said.
The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting, attended by Gadkari, heavy industries minister Anant Geete and environment Prakash Javadekar.
Hundreds of taxi drivers blocked National Highway-8 and the Ring Road in Delhi to protest against the action by enforcement agencies following the apex court order.
The Supreme Court refused on Saturday to extend the April 30 deadline fixed for conversion of diesel cabs into less-polluting CNG mode for plying on city roads, sending off-road thousands of diesel taxis, including those run by aggregators like Ola and Uber.
According to the Delhi transport department, about 60,000 taxis are registered in the national capital of which 27,000 run on diesel. Gadkari said the government “respects” Supreme Court and is committed to the issue of environment and has already taken a slew of steps to curb pollution. “We have been inundated with updates on people facing hardships. That is why we have decided to update the court on all the measures we had taken in the last two years to curb the pollution,” the minister said.
Gadkari said there are reports that the ban has resulted in immediate loss of jobs to thousands of people and also serious commuting problems to working men, women and youth in the national capital region. He said the government is aware that many establishments in Delhi-NCR, particularly in IT and BPO sectors have late working hours and non-availability of safe transport facilities would pose a security threat to those.
After the ban, major companies in Delhi-NCR have decided not to provide any transport facility to their employees.