Delhi govt backs cabbies, moves SC requesting to remove diesel taxis in phased manner
The Supreme Court has asked the Delhi government to give a roadmap on how it plans to phase out diesel taxis and plan for their conversion to CNG.
New Delhi: The Delhi government on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court requesting to ban diesel taxis from the National Capital Region in a phased manner.
The government's move came as diesel taxi drivers blocked major traffic points of the NCR for the second consecutive day today.
Responding to the plea, the SC said it will examine the Kejriwal-led government's recommendations which it will file today.
The apex court bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, meanwhile, asked the Delhi government to give a roadmap for phasing out diesel cabs and switching over to cleaner compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel.
The government told the court that they will file a roadmap by Tuesday evening after which the matter was listed to be heard on Wednesday.
The court said its order to ban diesel and petrol taxis was not to cause any inconvenience to the people but to curb rising pollution levels in the capital city, considered to be one of the worst polluted in the world.
“We also don’t intent to create a human problem but whenever such measures are taken it does lead to some inconvenience,” the bench said.
The Delhi government said it was “fully committed for tackling pollution”.
“However, a problem has arisen for the citizens."
Dozens of drivers protesting against a Supreme Court ban on diesel 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 am.
"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 news agency 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 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.
(With IANS inputs)