It was mayhem on Monday for thousands of office-goers who travel between Delhi and Gurgaon who got trapped into a massive traffic jam as hundreds of cab drivers blocked both carriageways near the Rajokri toll booth in southwest Delhi on the key road protesting against the Supreme Court’s decision to ban diesel taxis in the city.
The traffic was completely thrown out-of-gear in areas around National Highway 8 due to the protest and and the traffic helpline was bombarded with calls from distressed commuters.
“The taxi drivers on Monday morning blocked both the carraigeways on Rajokri flyover near the old Delhi toll booth on Gurgaon to Dhaula Kuan road,” said a traffic police official.
The chaotic situation stretched beyond 11 AM and traffic personnel had to be pressed into service in the area, the official added.
Dhaulakuan, Kapashera and Mehrauli were some of the areas where traffic crawled for hours and a long tailback stretching over a kilometer was witnessed near the Rajokri flyover around 9 AM, a traffic official said.
The blockage eventually led to a massive traffic snarl on the Delhi-Gurgaon route with vehicles lined up behind one another for up to 1 km, an official said.
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.
The protesters included the diesel cab drivers with All India tourist permits (AITP), who are exempted from the ban provided they operate outside NCR.
Yesterday, over a hundred diesel-run cabs, including many with AITP, ended up getting impounded after they were found plying within the city limits, following which the drivers alleged harassment by enforcement agencies.
“We will continue 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.
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 of which 27,000 run on diesel. Around 2,000 diesel-run taxis had converted into CNG mode in the last two months.