Over 500 diesel taxi drivers protested outside Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence in Civil Lines Sunday, demanding that the ban imposed on diesel cabs in the NCR by the Supreme Court be lifted. The protesters included drivers with All-India Tourist Permits (AITPs).
“We are not satisfied with the suggestion to phase out cabs over five years. We have loans to pay, which will take time. We want the cabs to be phased out over 10 years so that we have time to pay off our loans,” said Gurcharan Singh, executive member and ex-president of the Delhi State Taxi Society.
The drivers were also dissatisfied that the SC order was only imposed on cabs and not on private vehicles running on diesel.
“If they are serious about the pollution issue, then they should also ban private diesel vehicles and generators running on diesel. They should ban the use of any equipment that uses diesel instead of just targeting us,” said Sanjay Samrat, president of the Delhi Taxi Tourist Transporters and Tour Operator Association.
Protesters also suggested alternate ways to tackle pollution in the short term instead of a complete ban on diesel cabs. “Kejriwal spent crores on advertisements for the odd-even scheme. If he had spent that on buying machines to sweep the roads, dust would be lesser. He could have also planted trees to prevent dust from flying. Why isn’t he implementing these solutions?” said Pradeep Singh, a member of the association.
While Kejriwal declined to speak to protesters, a letter was submitted to him through his PA. The letter urged him to tell the court about the problems being faced by diesel taxis with AITPs.