The taxi operators and drivers in Gurgaon will go on an indefinite strike from Friday in protest against the Supreme Court order banning all diesel-run cabs in NCR . The ban came into effect on May 1.
Around 1,000 cab operators and nearly as many drivers, including those connected to private aggregators such as Ola and Uber, will take part in a demonstration against the ban. The strike will start around 10 am after the taxi operators submit a memorandum to the district administration.
“The ban on diesel cabs is adversely affecting cab drivers and operators. If vehicles are banned, how will we feed our families? The Supreme Court and state government should give alternatives so that drivers can continue with their lives,” said Anil Handa, a taxi operator.
There are over 14,000 cabs running in Gurgaon of which only about a 1,000 run on CNG. The operators said due to lack of technology for converting diesel-run vehicles into CNG, a large capital investment will be required to replace the taxis.
Virender Singh, a city-based cab driver, said, “It is not possible for any cab operator to suddenly replace their entire fleet and buy CNG-run vehicles. I have not driven my car for past two days and my family might have to go back to our village in Bihar if the ban continues.”
The drivers also said the infrastructure deficiencies — inadequate number of CNG filling stations and limited capacity in existing pumps -- also pose a hurdle. There are only about 10 CNG stations, with a capacity of 2,500 vehicles a day, serving more than 4,000 autorickshaws, nearly 2,000 buses and other CNG vehicles in Gurgaon.
“Even if we convert to CNG, the drivers will be forced to wait for hours in long queues at the CNG stations. The government should at least open more high-capacity filling stations so that we don’t waste time and energy. Those who drive CNG vehicles always complain of waiting for at least half an hour to get their vehicle filled,” said Ravi Sharma, a taxi driver.