End of the road for diesel cab drivers, cab companies comes to their defence

Delhi roads were clogged for the second consecutive day. Diesel taxi-drivers protesting against the ban on diesel cabs brought the traffic almost to standstill at major points in the capital.

Protesting drivers says that they have been left with no choice. They are in a fix. Their cars are parked and they are incurring losses every day. Most of them have bought their cars on loan.
They are worried about the installments and their future. Most of the diesel taxi drivers Firstpost spoke to are still hopeful that the cab services for which they were working will come to their rescue. “While my car is parked at the moment and I am worried, I have been assured by the cab service I work for that they will find a solution to the problem very soon”, said a cab owner.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

On Tuesday Ola issued a statement talking about the problems faced by the cab owners and said that they are working relentlessly to facilitate “more structured phase out” of the diesel taxis.

The statement read, “Livelihoods of tens of thousands of drivers who have taken a loan and bought a new diesel cab in the last 2 years is at stake with substantial EMIs pending. Since there is no technology to convert diesel to CNG, the salvage value of their cars are negligible. With potential loan defaults, they stand the risk of not being eligible for any kind of loan, all their life. At Ola, we have been working relentlessly over the last 6 months to help tens of thousands of diesel taxi driver-owners across Delhi-NCR by highlighting their plight to the EPCA as well as the relevant Govt authorities in order to get some respite, as well as facilitate a more structured phase out”.

The statement further added, “Parallely, we have also helped tens of thousands of driver partners in Delhi-NCR, exchange their old diesel cars for new CNG cars with attractive discounts from car manufacturers and easy loans from financial institutions through programs like Ola Pragati Mahotsav. We thank the Government for having taken cognisance of the plight of these drivers, by moving the Hon’ble Supreme Court on this issue”.

On 30 April, the apex court refused to extend the 30 April deadline given diesel taxis owners, to switch to CNG. Passing the order, the apex court said that it was way back in 1998 that the Supreme Court had ordered that commercial passenger vehicles must run on CNG. So why did they bought diesel cars? "We can’t keep extending deadlines", the bench held.
The apex court, on 16 December last year, had barred registration of cars and vehicles with engine capacity of 2000 cc and above till 31 March.

Following the protest by cab drivers, Delhi government has also asked the Supreme Court for two more days to submit a detailed plan on how to phase out diesel cabs from the city.

Updated Date: May 03, 2016 21:53 PM

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