New Delhi: Two days after the Supreme Court put a ban on diesel cabs in the city from May 01, 140 diesel-run taxi drivers were on Monday booked for plying their vehicles in the national capital violating the apex court order.
As over 27,000 diesel-run taxis went off the roads of the city yesterday, thousands of commuters had a tough time finding means of travel. Adding to the chaos on roads were thousands of protesting cab drivers who blocked National Highway 8 and the Ring Road.
"As many as 140 drivers were booked today and challans were issued to them. Vehicles were impounded in a few cases," Special Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sandeep Goel said on Monday.
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 01. The court exempted taxis with all-India tourist permit (AITP) from switching to CNG if they operate outside NCR.
The errant drivers were booked under Section 66 of the Motor Vehicles Act. Cases in which the vehicles had AITP, police officials spoke to the passengers enquiring about their boarding and de-boarding points, a senior official said.
Nearly 150 such diesel-run cab drivers, including several with AITP, were prosecuted on Sunday and many vehicles were impounded, following which the drivers alleged harassment by enforcement agencies.
The city groaned under traffic woes yesterday as hundreds of cab drivers blocked National Highway 8 and Ring Road, protesting against action by enforcement agencies following the Supreme Court's decision to ban diesel taxis in Delhi.
In the early hours, a group of protesters blocked both carriageways near the Rajokri toll booth on National Highway 8, which led to a long tailback stretching over a kilometer in the area, traffic officials said.
The congestion largely affected thousands of office-goers who travel between Delhi and Gurgaon, linked by NH-8. In no time, traffic was thrown out-of-gear in Dhaula Kuan, Kapashera and Mehrauli, and the chaos continued for hours.
The situation turned worse at around 11.30 am when the protesters blocked both carriageways on the Ring Road stretch at Maharani Bagh, close to Ashram Chowk.
The second blockade directly hit traffic in areas including Sarai Kale Khan, Ashram, near PGDAV College in Nehru Nagar, Lajpat Nagar and Moolchand stretching up to AIIMS.
The protesters included the diesel cab drivers with AITP, who are exempted from the ban provided they operate outside NCR.
"We will continue with our protest until the authorities forbid police and transport department officials from penalising us as we have an All India permit which is exempted from the ban. We are only asking for exemption which we have already been given," said Sanjay Samrat, President of Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters Association.
Various researches have put Delhi among the most polluted cities in the world.
(With Agency inputs)