Taxi drivers protest against ban on diesel vehicles, huge traffic jam near Mahipalpur in Delhi

The taxi drivers in Delhi continued their protest against the ban on diesel vehicles on Tuesday that resulted in huge traffic jam near Mahipalpur and other areas of the national capital. On Monday, more than 27,000 diesel-run taxis went off the roads of the national capital, giving thousands of commuters a tough time finding means of travel, their troubles exacerbated by chaotic traffic and a searing heat.

The impact of the Supreme Court’s ban on plying of diesel-run taxis, mostly linked with app-based cab platforms such as Uber and Ola, was compounded by severe traffic jams caused by protests held by hundreds of cab drivers during which they blocked National Highway 8 and Ring Road.Many commuters were left in the lurch on the first working day of the week as cabs were in short supply letting aggregators invoke surge pricing claiming that demand had outstripped supply, inviting ire of the authorities.

The Delhi Traffic Police and the enforcement wing of Delhi Transport department, booked around 140 cabs and impounded several. While police acted against diesel-run cabs, the government cracked its whip on around 50 cabs for surge pricing.

The situation prompted the Centre to say that it will request the apex Court to reconsider the decision. All these happened on the hottest day of the season when the mercury sizzled at 44 degrees Celsius.

“The government has decided to request the Supreme Court to reconsider its decision on ban. The ban has created an unprecedented situation of thousands of taxis getting off road and people facing severe hardships,” Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari told reporters.

The congestion in the wake of protests largely affected thousands of office-goers who travel between Delhi and Gurgaon, linked by NH-8, and the traffic helpline was bombarded with calls from distressed commuters, officials said.

The protesters, included the diesel cab drivers with All India tourist permits (AITP), who are exempted from the ban provided they operate outside NCR.

After extending the deadline twice, the Supreme Court had on Saturday refused to give more time to cab operators to convert to CNG and put a ban on diesel cabs in the city from May 1. The court exempted taxis with all-India tourist permit (AITP) from switching to CNG if they operate outside NCR.

According to Delhi transport department, about 60,000 taxis are registered in the national capital of which 27,000 run on diesel. Around 2,000 diesel-run taxis had converted into CNG mode in the last two months.