A demonstration by 100 drivers of diesel-run cabs near the Shiv Murti on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway crippled traffic on the highway and the effects were felt till RTR Flyover and Shankar Vihar in Delhi and Rajokri towards Gurgaon.
The jam began when taxi drivers gathered on the expressway around 9:20am and started shouting slogans. Though the Delhi police forced the agitators off the expressway, they left a few cabs on the main carriageway and on the service lane, obstructing traffic.
In a bid to improve the air quality in the national capital region, the Supreme Court on Saturday refused to extend the April 30 deadline for the conversion of all diesel and petrol-run taxis to CNG -- effectively banning all cabs not running on the greener fuel.
The protesters stopped a crane deployed by the highway operator to clear the expressway. After repeated appeals to remove the cabs yielded no result, the police broke the cab windows and moved the cars.
There were snarls between Mahipalpur and Aerocity on main carriageway and service lanes of the expressway. Traffic resumed slowly after 1pm.
Commuters continued to suffer for a second day on the expressway as hundreds of them were caught in snarls. Soonit Roy, who works in a private firm, said, “My office is in Sector 30 and I commute to work by our office cab. It usually takes me an hour to get there, but commuting has been a nightmare in the last two days. Because of a three-hour traffic jam on Monday, I reached my workplace only after 11am. The story was the same today. The jam stretched to Dhaula Kuan.”
Ashish Kapoor, an MNC employee, said the authorities should have been more proactive in preventing the traffic jam. “The police responded only after the protest began… they could have controlled it in the very beginning. I had to take a half-day leave because I reached office almost three hours late,” he said.