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No diesel cabs in Delhi-NCR from Sunday as SC refuses to extend CNG deadline

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New Delhi, April 30 : In a major setback to diesel-based taxis, such vehicles will not be allowed to run in Delhi and National Capital Region (NCR) from May 1 after the Supreme Court on Saturday refused to give more time to taxi operators to switch to the cleaner compressed natural gas (CNG).

The deadline for the change, which has been extended twice, is Saturday.

A number of cab operators and their associations urged the court for an extension of the deadline, but a bench of Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice R. Banumati refused the request.

Welcoming the move, Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai said: “Such strict steps are necessary to curb rising pollution.”

The apex court by its December 16, 2015 order had asked the diesel cab operators in National Capital Territory of Delhi to switch over to CNG by March 1. However, by its January 5, 2016 order, the court brought all the diesel cars operating in NCR in the ambit of its December 16, 2015 and extended the deadline to March 31.

On March 31 on request by the diesel cab operators, the time was extended to April 30 with court then making it clear that it would give not further extension of time to switch over to CNG.

The matter related to steps to be taken to curb alarming increase in air pollution in the national capital.

In another case, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) termed “arbitrary” the ban on diesel vehicles with engine capacity of 2,000 cc or more imposed by the top court as a measure to curb deteriorating air quality.

During the hearing, SIAM, seeking the lifting of the ban on such diesel vehicles, told the apex court that ban was arbitrary as there was no “established” link between engine capacity and the emission levels.

The diesel vehicles with engine capacities of 2,000 cc or more were being wrongly targeted for deteriorating air quality in the national capital, senior counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing for SIAM said, adding that the real culprits were older pre-BS I, BS I and BS II diesel vehicles emitting more pollution, and these should be phased out or fined.

The Supreme Court by its December 16 order had imposed a blanket ban on registration of diesel vehicles of 2,000 cc and above including SUVs in the NCR.

Though Saturday is a non-working day for the court, but Chief Justice Thakur decided to hold the hearing on it to save time on other working days.

Apparently supporting the position taken by the automobile manufacturers, the central government said that a balance had to be struck between protecting environment and the manufacturing activities.

Singhvi meanwhile took the court through the report of the study undertaken by the IIT Kanpur which says that of the total pollution in Delhi, vehicular emission – of all commercial, passenger, 2, 3, & 4 wheelers – accounted for just 20 percent, while road dust was the biggest contributor with 38 percent.

The apex bench allowed the application of Delhi Police to purchase 197 heavy-duty vehicles to be used for various activities, including VVIP security, but asked it to pay a 30 percent environment compensation charge (ECC) on the total cost of vehicles.

In granting the permission, the court modified its earlier order banning the registration of diesel vehicles of 2000 cc and above engine capacity.

Besides, Delhi Police, the court also allowed NDMC and SDMC to get their heavy duty vehicles for the collection, transportation and disposal of garbage – registered after paying 30 per cent ECC, and the Delhi Jal Board to purchase 250 vehicles to replace 240 vehicles which have been in service for more than 10 years.

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Post violence, Lal Quila metro station closed, entry to Jama Masjid station restricted

“Services at Delhi Metro stations, which were closed yesterday, had resumed late night. Lal Quila station has been closed again and entry to Jama Masjid station is restricted as of now. Normal services are there at all other stations,” a senior DMRC official said.

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A day after violence broke out during the farmers’ tractor parade in the national capital, Delhi Metro authorities on Wednesday shut the Lal Quila station and restricted entry to the Jama Masjid station amid heavy security deployment at the Red Fort.

A large number of metro stations in central, north and west Delhi areas, including Lal Quila, ITO, Jama Masjid, Delhi Gate, Indraprastha, were shut on Tuesday soon after the tractor parade had taken a violent turn.

“Services at Delhi Metro stations, which were closed yesterday, had resumed late night. Lal Quila station has been closed again and entry to Jama Masjid station is restricted as of now. Normal services are there at all other stations,” a senior DMRC official said.

Security has been beefed up in several places across the national capital especially at the Red Fort and farmer protest sites, with deployment of additional paramilitary forces following the violence.

Delhi Metro also took to social media to inform commuters.

First it tweeted in the morning that “Entry gates of Lal Quila metro station are closed. Exit is permitted at this station. All other stations are open. Normal services on all lines”.

Later in another tweet, it updated that “Entry/exit gates of Lal Quila metro station are closed. Entry gates of Jama Masjid metro station are closed”.

Average waiting time at Saket metro station on Yellow Line was 35 minutes. In case of any fluctuations in crowd, the waiting time will be informed accordingly, the DMRC had informed in another tweet.

However, in a successive tweet, it said: “Peak Hour Update The average waiting time for Saket has normalised”.

The Delhi Metro currently operates on a network of about 390 kilometres with 285 stations spanning 11 corridors (including NOIDA – Greater NOIDA).

The tractor parade on Tuesday that was to highlight the demands of the farmer unions to repeal three new agri laws dissolved into anarchy on the streets of the city as tens of thousands of protesters broke through barriers, fought with police, overturned vehicles and hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the iconic Red Fort.

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Delhi Police detains 200 people in connection with tractor rally anarchy

According to police, the detained people are being questioned. Police said they are likely to detain and question more people in connection with Tuesday’s violence in the national capital.

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Delhi Police Security

The Delhi Police has detained 200 people in connection with the violence during the farmers’ tractor rally on Republic Day, officials said on Wednesday.

According to police, the detained people are being questioned. Police said they are likely to detain and question more people in connection with Tuesday’s violence in the national capital.

Tens of thousands of farmers broke barriers to storm the national capital on Tuesday, their tractor parade to highlight their demands dissolving into unprecedented scenes of anarchy as they fought with police, overturned vehicles and delivered a national insult – hoisting a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort, a privilege reserved for India’s tricolour.

The Delhi Police has registered 22 FIRs so far in connection with the violence that left over 300 policemen injured, officials said on Wednesday.

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Uttar Pradesh: FIR against 3 journos for ‘mischievous’ report

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Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Jan 27 : An FIR has been filed against three journalists in Kanpur Dehat district for alleged ‘public mischief’ and ‘criminal intimidation’.

The journalists were responsible for a news report, which alleged that several government school students ‘shivered in biting cold while government officials were busy with an event’ last week.

The journalists work for a local TV channel that aired the news report.

In his police complaint, Sunil Dutt, the district Basic Education Officer, has alleged the journalists were not even present at the event, and yet they ‘misrepresented the yoga and exercise programme’ that was conducted on Sunday to mark the ‘UP Diwas’.

According to the visuals shown in the programme that was attended by the District Magistrate, a state Minister and local MLAs, the children, in what appears to be their summer uniform, are seen holding toy guns. Students can also be seen performing Yoga.

Another clip shows them in a room, performing exercises. A third clip, also shot indoors, shows them performing the ‘head stand’ or ‘shirshasana’. They are not seen wearing sweaters or winter wear in any of the visuals.

All the guests at the event can be seen clad in winter wear.

According to the official’s complaint, the children were made to take off their winter wear, only for the exercises.

“It is well-known that yoga and physical exercises cannot be carried out in winter wear and requires loose clothing. Local education officials followed this, and made the children take off their winter clothing and wear loose and light clothes for the exercises and then all the children immediately put on their winter wear again,” the basic education officer said in his complaint.

District Magistrate Dinesh Chandra Singh said, “I am very pained to see that some journalists, who were not even there, have published news that the children were shivering in the cold. You can see that a child who performs Yoga cannot do it wearing a sweater or a coat or pants. These children have performed very well, I appreciate them. And we will see what is to be done for those who have carried this report.”

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