No diesel cabs in Delhi-NCR from Sunday

Commuters will face inconvenience as nearly 27,000 diesel-run taxis will not be allowed to run on the capital’s roads from May 1 after the Supreme Court on Saturday refused to extend the April 30 deadline fixed for their conversion into CNG mode to curb air pollution.

According to transport department, about 60,000 taxis are registered in the national capital and of them 27,000 are running on diesel. Around 2,000 diesel-run taxis had converted into CNG mode in the last two months.

The Supreme Court order is not applicable on cabs having All India Permits but most of the diesel cabs run on local routes.

Delhi Transport Minister Gopal Rai has directed the enforcement wing of the transport department to launch a crackdown against diesel-run cabs plying on locals routes in Delhi today.

“We will deploy our teams at several points to catch diesel cabs plying on the local routes in Delhi. If diesel-run cab is caught, our officials will ask commuters about the pick-up point and their destination following which it can be ascertained if it is following laid-down rules,” said a senior government official.

The official said that there is already ban on diesel cabs plying on local routes in Delhi.

“As per rule, taxis having All India permit are required to cover a distance of around 200 km. Taxis having all India permits cannot ply from one point to other point inside Delhi,” the official said.

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.

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