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Delhi, Gurgaon choke as cabbies protest, block roads

Delhi, Gurgaon choke as cabbies protest, block roads
The protest threw traffic out of gear on the National Highway-8 at the Rajokri Border between Delhi and Gurgaon. According to cops deployed at the Rajokri flyover — the protest started at 7.30 am on Monday morning and went on for over 7 hours-till 2.30 pm.

The result of the protest led to a massive traffic jam extending to places as far away as the Ring Road, Kapashera, Mehrauli and Dhaula Kuan with both carriageways on the national highway being jammed by the striking cab owners. Early in the morning, with peak traffic heading towards Gurgaon, the blockage led to a nearly 2-km-long jam.

As part of an advisory, the Delhi traffic police tweeted: “Obstruction in traffic in both carriageways from Dhaula Kuan towards Gurgaon due to demonstration by taxi drivers near Rajokari Border.”

With people taking alternative routes, several stretches including Lala Lajpat Rai Marg, Defense Colony and Mathura Road also got clogged within an hour, officials said.

According to the information received, all these cabbies and cab owners were protesting against them being challaned for driving a cab with an ‘All India Permit’. “When I bought the cab, they gave me an All India Permit, which never read that after a year Delhi NCR region will be excluding from the permit,” said Ravender Gupta, owner of a cab service.

The main concern of the drivers of diesel-owned cabs the challenging of converting their diesel cabs into CNG, which seems like an impossible task.

“We started converting to diesel 15 years ago as it was cost-effective then. Now, switching to CNG would mean changing the entire engine. How will cars such as Innova, Xylo run on CNG? Also, changing the engine from diesel to CNG will cost us what a new car costs, which is also not possible as we have our existing cars running on loans,” said Kamaljeet Singh, a cab driver.

Sources in the Gurgaon transport department added that there are no set procedures under which the diesel converted into CNG vehicles can be recognised under the Motor Act.

Cabbies also expressed that OLA and other private cab aggregators will also not be converting their diesel-run cabs into CNG. 

They will be exchanging their diesel cabs with CNG cabs and will outsource their diesel cabs into other states and cities.

After extending the deadline twice, the Apex 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. 

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

Over 500 cops from Delhi and Gurgaon police teams including reserve police were deployed at Rajokri to maintain law and order.
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