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BBC Delhi correspondent Jill McGivering
talks to environmentalist Anil Aggarwal
 real 28k

Tuesday, 3 April, 2001, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
Transport mayhem in Delhi
Traffic chaos in Delhi
Angry commuters have been stranded for hours
By Jill McGivering in Delhi

There has been chaos and violence in the Indian capital, Delhi, as tough new anti-pollution measures caused pandemonium on the public transport system.

Do not go to work: Since the state has absconded from its citizens, let the citizens abscond from the state

The Times of India
Commuter frustration during the chaotic morning rush hour boiled over into violence when an angry mob torched six buses.

Wednesday was the second day of a ban on vehicles which do not use compressed natural gas (CNG), forcing thousands of buses, taxis and auto rickshaws off the roads.

According to one estimate, only a tenth of the usual number of buses was able to operate, stranding thousands of commuters for hours.

Crowd crush

Overcrowding meant some passengers clung to the outside of buses or travelled on the roof.

Destroyed bus seen through the smashed window of another
Some took their frustration out on the vehicles
Some vehicles had their windows smashed.

The chaos has been caused by new anti-pollution measures now being enforced by the courts.

They say all commercial vehicles including buses and taxis must use CNG instead of diesel fuel.

Those with a special certificate showing they are in the process of converting have been given another six months to comply.

But some transport operators say the cost of converting their vehicles is too high.

They also complain the city does not yet have enough filling stations to cater for them.

Acute pollution

Some blame the city authorities for failing to put the infrastructure in place and officials are now appealing to the courts for more time to implement the ban.

Delhi policeman
Pollution is a problem for all
Delhi has been described as one of the world's most polluted cities.

Diesel vehicles are seen as a main cause of air pollution which is now acute here and raising growing concerns about damage to public health.

Civil disobedience

The Times of India daily said it was time for Delhi's residents to take matters into their own hands.

"The next time public transportation comes to a grinding halt, collectively decide on a course of civil disobedience," it said.

"Do not go to work: Since the state has absconded from its citizens, let the citizens abscond from the state," the paper said.

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See also:

27 Mar 01 | South Asia
Delhi commuters face chaos
16 Feb 01 | South Asia
Green buses ordered in Delhi
22 Nov 00 | South Asia
Delhi pollution drive falters
24 Jan 00 | South Asia
Pollution ban on Delhi factories
23 Sep 99 | South Asia
Traffic noise sending police deaf
09 Oct 98 | South Asia
Delhi chokes under pollution
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