05/05/2016 8:32 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST

Diesel Taxi Ban Could Force BPOs Out, Cost India $1.2 Billion: Centre Tells SC

PRAKASH SINGH via Getty Images
Indian taxi drivers and owners shout slogans against Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during a protest in New Delhi on May 4, 2016, against the banning of diesel cabs on the roads in the Indian capital. Hundreds of taxi drivers and owners took to the streets of New Delhi to protest a court order banning diesel cabs from plying the roads of the world's most polluted capital. The ban would impact some 27,000 diesel taxis registered in Delhi, including app-based cab operators Ola and Uber. / AFP / PRAKASH SINGH (Photo credit should read PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

The ban on diesel taxis in the Delhi-NCR region could affect the BPO industry and potentially cost the country $1.2 billion, the central government told the supreme court on Thursday.

Due to the blanket ban on diesel taxis, BPOs may be adversely affected, and may move their operations out of India, solicitor general Ranjith Kumar told the court.

"The ban would affect the business generated by inter-city cabs engaged by the BPOs to ferry employees and this could cost India $1.2 billion," The Times of India quoted solicitor general as saying to a bench headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur.

He also said the centre will soon file an application on the issue since it also pertains to the safety of the BPO employees.

Last week, taking cognizance of the increasing pollution, the apex court banned taxis that run on diesel from plying on NCR's roads. The operators were given time till April 30 to switch to CNG. The court had proposed the use of CNG buses to ferry employees.

Citing security of women employees, the Centre argued that CNG buses can't enter small lanes and by-lanes so they can't be used to ferry women employees to their doorstep at night.

Moreover, The Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) told the top court that diesel taxis have all-India permit enabling them to travel across the country, even to destinations where CNG is not available and hence banning them will affect the overall business.

The authority said that such cabs could be phased out over the next five years, adding only petrol and CNG cabs should be registered for hereon, news reports said.

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, news reports said.

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