Diesel taxi ban will hit BPOs: Centre

Diesel taxi ban will hit BPOs: Centre
The Centre on Thursday urged the Supreme Court to relax the ban on diesel-run taxis in Delhi-NCR, contending it would impact the over $1-billion BPO industry using these cabs.

Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar submitted before a bench presided over by Chief Justice T S Thakur that there should be a gradual phase-out of about 30,000 diesel-run taxis over a period of five years.

Banning all diesel-run taxis in the Delhi-NCR could cost $1.2 billion (approximately Rs 7,975.25 crore) if BPOs decide to move out due to this prohibition, he said.

“Due to the inconvenience caused to BPO employees, the companies may choose to move out of the country, affecting the economy,” Kumar said, also flagging concerns about the safety of women employees.

The bench, also comprising Justice R Banumathi, however, asked why BPOs cannot hire CNG-run buses for ferrying employees. Kumar replied that buses cannot enter small bylanes to drop women employees at their doorsteps. He said the Centre will file an application shortly on the issue.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) also pleaded for deferring the deadline, claiming that approximately 15,000 diesel taxis provided transport services to about one million direct and indirect BPO employees in 300 companies in the Delhi-NCR.

Faced with protests by cabbies following the court's ban on 30,000 taxis, including those by aggregators Ola and Uber in the National Capital Region, Noida, Gurgaon and Ghaziabad, the Delhi government had already approached the court for relaxing the April 30 deadline.

The AAP government claimed the ban would create a law and order situation. During the brief hearing, the counsel for Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) said diesel cabs, not permitted to ply in Delhi and NCR, were affected by the ban as they have an all-India permit to travel to destinations across the country where CNG was not available.

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