Diesel Ban: Billion Dollar BPO Industry May Opt Out, Centre Tells Court

The court had last week refused to extend the deadline for taking diesel cabs off the roads.

Highlights

  • Centre approaches Supreme Court seeking relief from ban on diesel cabs
  • Ban will impact BPOs which use diesel cabs to ferry employees: Centre
  • This will affect the economy, Solicitor General tells Supreme Court
New Delhi: After the Delhi government, the Centre has now approached the Supreme Court seeking relief from the crackdown it ordered on diesels cabs in Delhi and neighbouring areas. The ban will impact the BPO industry which uses diesel-run taxis to ferry employees and earns the country billions of dollars every year, the government said.

The foreign exchange may go to other countries if BPOs cannot operate efficiently, the Centre said in court today while the Delhi government said it is finalising a plan to phase out diesel cabs in five years which it will present at the next hearing on Monday.

The court, on April 30, had refused to extend the May 1 deadline to take diesel cabs off roads. The BPO industry may choose to opt out of India, the Centre said. "The BPO industry would be affected as diesel taxis had been used for pick and drop facilities of the employees. It will affect the economy," Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar told a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur.

Mr Kumar said that Centre will file an application shortly on the issue because it also concerns the safety and security of the BPO employees. "Due to the inconvenience caused to the BPO employees, the companies may choose to move out of the country which will be affecting the economy," the Solicitor General said.

To this, the bench asked why can't they (BPO companies) hire buses for the pick and drop facility.

The counsel for Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) informed the court that it is discussing the issue arising out of the ban on diesel taxis with the Delhi government.

The apex court then asked the counsel to give the road map on the issue which would be deliberated upon on May 9, the next date of hearing.

The court had on May 3 given two days' time to the Delhi government to file a detailed plan on phasing out diesel taxis from the city after it had moved the court seeking reprieve on behalf of the taxi operators citing problems faced by commuters due to 30,000 cabs going off the city's roads.