With the Delhi Traffic Police tightening the noose around diesel-run cabs plying in Delhi-NCR, taxi unions hit the streets protesting against the alleged harassment.
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.
Sanjay Samrat, president of Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association (DTTTA), accompanied by BJP leader, Vijender Gupta, met Delhi Police commissioner Alok Verma to discuss the problems faced by diesel taxi drivers who have the All India Tourist Permit (AITP).
“When the Supreme Court has exempted the AITP drivers, then why were our drivers challaned and their cars impounded? We raised our concerns with the police commissioner. He has assured us that starting Tuesday no AITP driver will be fined,” Samrat said.
Officials from the Delhi government’s transport department, however, said the crackdown would continue till separate orders were issued.
Samrat said on Tuesday if the police continued to fine and impound cabs, they would intensify their agitation.
Gupta, who was present in the meeting, said that these drivers were victims of the inaction and apathy of the Delhi government.
“These drivers are suffering for no fault of their own. Most of these drivers have taken heavy loans to buy their vehicles. Now they are finding it difficult to survive and earn their livelihood. It is the moral responsibility of the Delhi Government to rehabilitate them,” he said.
The union representatives said there were three main issues that were raised during the meeting.
They said in the first order, the court clearly mentioned that the ban is issued for cabs running with aggregators such as Ola and Uber. It did not mention cabs with all-India permits.
Another concern was that AITPs are only issued for diesel cabs, which cannot be converted to CNG. “The order states that the diesel-run cab companies should ‘convert’ their fleet to CNG. Since that cannot happen with us, we will have to shut our shops,” said Rajveer Yadav, owner of a private tourist cab service.
The drivers also said the fact that the AITP drivers could not ply from ‘point to point’ within the national capital was not clarified.