Commuters were left stranded as thousands of taxi drivers and operators started an indefinite strike on Friday following the Supreme Court’s decision to ban all diesel-run cabs in Delhi-NCR from May 1.
The unregulated autorickshaws and poor condition of Haryana Roadways buses have made cabs a vital part of Gurgaon’s transport system. Residents say auto drivers took advantage of the situation and fleeced them on Friday.
Shradha Sharma of Sector 29 said, “I use a private taxi to reach my college every day. The cab did not ply today and I had to miss my first lecture. The auto rickshaws charge a lot and buses are unsafe.”
On Friday morning, some office-goers were left with limited options as the company cabs did not reach their residences.
“My office cab picks me up near a school in our locality. I waited for half an hour and took an autorickshaw to come to the office,” an IT firm employee said.
The taxi operators want the government to allow their diesel-run cabs to ply for the next five years. There are around 14,000 cabs in Gurgaon of which only 1,000 run on CNG.
“A majority of cabs in Gurgaon are diesel-run and these cannot be simply banned. Thousands of drivers earn a living from driving people around the city. It is unfair to us. We demand the government to look into the matter and give enough time to shift to CNG vehicles,” Anil Handa, a taxi operator and member of Gurugram Taxi Operator Union, said.
More than a 100 taxi operators and drivers marched to the residence of local MLA and Haryana PWD minister Rao Narbir Singh in the morning and submitted a nine-point memorandum.
Some of the demands in the memorandum are -- permit diesel cabs to ply for five years, ensure police officials are educated about the Supreme Court’s order about banning the diesel-run cabs and making it mandatory for all diesel-run vehicles, including private vehicles, to be converted to CNG.
Rao Narbir Singh said the government will take up the matter on an urgent basis.
“I will present the taxi operators’ issues before the state government. We understand their problems and the matter will be looked into with urgency,” he said.