Diesel taxi drivers again derail traffic, detained

New Delhi: Scores of drivers of diesel taxis blocked three major roads here on Tuesday, causing major traffic jams which police said abated after some demonstrators were detained and others dispersed.

Dozens of drivers protesting against a Supreme Court ban on diesel and petrol driven cabs parked their taxis on the Mahipalpur flyover leading to the Indira Gandhi International Airport, on another key road that links Delhi with Noida in Uttar Pradesh and in a south Delhi area that is linked to Gurgaon in Haryana.

In no time, hundreds of vehicles were caught up on both sides of the roads — like on Monday.

Police reached all three spots and engaged the drivers in discussion from about 9 a.m.

“We tried to reason with them that their protest was causing hardships to people and this wasn’t fair,” Joint Commissioner of Police Sharad Aggarwal told IANS.

“We told them that if they had issues with any judicial ruling, they must talk to the government.”

Aggarwal said that some of the drivers who accepted the reasoning took away their taxis. Those who refused to were taken to a police station and their taxis were impounded.

“The entire process took 45 minutes to an hour. By then, there were jams everywhere… But now, three hours after it all began, there is no traffic jam anywhere in Delhi due to any taxi protest,” Aggarwal said.

Another police officer, Ishwar Singh, told IANS that three taxis were found illegally parked on the Rajoukri flyover in south Delhi, apparently to create a traffic jam. But they were quickly removed.

Aggarwal told IANS: “We are telling the drivers not to go for such protests because the general public is affected very badly.”

The second day of protests follows a Supreme Court ruling that diesel and petrol driven taxis won’t be permitted to ply in Delhi after March 31. The cab owners and drivers say the ruling has affected thousands of them.