Protesting diesel cab drivers bring Delhi to standstill (Roundup)

New Delhi, May 2 (IANS) Drivers of diesel cabs on Monday brought traffic in the national capital to a standstill as they took to the roads to protest the Supreme Court decision to ban diesel and petrol-run taxis in the city.

The protesting drivers took to the roads at many places, causing hardship for school-going children and office-goers.

The condition was worse on the Delhi-Gurgaon and Delhi-Noida borders and near west Delhi’s Rajokri area.

“The taxi drivers blocked both the carriageways on Rajokri flyover near the old Delhi toll booth on Gurgaon-Dhaula Kuan road in morning,” a traffic police official told IANS.

The protests and blockades led to major traffic snarls across the capital, with vehicles lined up behind one another for up to one km, an official said.

“It takes me 20 minutes to reach work, but I am stuck here for the past 30 minutes. Nothing is moving,” Preeti Gupta, a PR professional working in Noida Sector 16, told IANS.

Vaibhav Mishra, who works in a Gurgaon tech firm, said it took him two hours to reach his office from the neighbouring Sultanpur area.

“It was harrowing. It turned worse as the AC in my car was not working,” he said.

Vehicles also piled up on the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) flyway but were soon cleared with the help of policemen deployed there, an official said.

The Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association took out a march from the DND flyway to Ashram Chowk and again blocked traffic for several hours.

Following the protest by the cab drivers, the traffic police had to divert vehicles at several junctions.

Vehicles coming from Faridabad were diverted towards Kalindi Kunj, while vehicles coming from Ring Road, Bhairon Marg towards Sarai Kale Khan were diverted on NH-24, a traffic official said.

The traffic police also urged the people to avoid using the DND flyway, and while commuting from Modi Mill towards Mathura road.

However, the situation was brought under control after a delegation of taxi operators met Delhi Police Commissioner Alok K. Verma.

Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association president Sanjay Samrat told IANS: “The decision of the apex court mainly deals with taxis of web-based aggregators as they misuse the permits allotted to them.”

He said they submitted a memorandum along with Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Vijender Gupta to the Delhi Police chief after a number of private taxis were challaned on Sunday.

“The police commissioner has assured us that taxis which do not come under the city permits won’t be fined anymore,” Samrat added.

Meanwhile, several diesel-based cab drivers also complained that after the ban, they were left jobless.

Dharmendra, a diesel cab driver, told IANS that he bought his car five months ago on loan from a bank. And after the ban, he is now completely clueless.

“I have to pay the monthly installment of my vehicle to the bank. But now diesel cabs are no more allowed in the city, and I have become clueless what to do,” he said.

The apex court on Saturday refused to give more time to taxi operators to switch to the cleaner compressed natural gas (CNG) and banned diesel and petrol-based taxis in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) from May 1.

The deadline for the change was extended twice earlier.

Various researches have put Delhi among the most polluted cities in the world.



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