It was just two weeks ago that Rajiv Bawana (43) purchased a Maruti Ertiga and registered it as a commercial vehicle.
He wanted to drive the car as taxi and earn a livelihood for his family of four. He has a commercial driving licence and had been working as driver with a private company. But he left the job to start his taxi service.
A day before he registered his car with the local transport department, the Supreme Court imposed a blanket ban on diesel taxis in Delhi and NCR.
Rajiv has now appealed to the transport department to convert the registration to a private number.
“The official said once registered, a commercial vehicle cannot be changed for three years at least. Now I want to sell the car outside Noida. But even this is difficult now as I cannot get an NOC from the transport department,” said Rajiv.
HT spoke to many drivers in the region who own diesel taxis with national permit and have been engaged with local companies and call centres. The Supreme Court has not banned national permit taxis but most of these drivers operate in NCR only.
“The court has said that if we pick passengers from Noida, we will have to drop them outside NCR and vice versa. But this is difficult. There is no business outside NCR. To buy the cars, we have taken 80% loan and are paying EMIs, quarterly road tax and insurance fee. We appeal to the Supreme Court to at least grant us time till our bank loans and permits end. We will then sell the vehicles and switch to CNG,” said Manmohan (37) of Hoshiyarpur in Noida, who bought an Indigo two years ago.
Officials said a national permit is valid for at least five years and it cannot be cancelled before three years.
“Since May 1, 2010, 5,963 diesel taxis have been given national permits by the Noida transport department. It is difficult to seize all of them overnight,” said a transport official.
The threat of seizure of their vehicles is giving sleepless nights to drivers who protested across the NCR over the last two days. They said they invested their life’s savings to buy taxis and now they do not know what to do.
“After the court order, officials and police threaten to seize our taxis. I bought an Innova three months ago only,” said Rajkumar (39) of Ghazipur.