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Delhi hit by diesel-free chaos

Commuters board a Compressed Natural Gas bus run by the Delhi Transport Corporation
Commuters board a Compressed Natural Gas bus run by the Delhi Transport Corporation  

From Suhasini Haidar
CNN New Delhi

NEW DELHI, India -- For residents of India's capital of New Delhi, Monday morning blues took on a new meaning.

As they tried to get to work people had to push and shove to get onto the few buses that came their way.

On Friday, India's Supreme Court ordered all buses running on diesel off the streets, allowing only those burning environmentally friendly compressed natural gas or CNG.

That means New Delhi's public transport company, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), can now only operate half of its fleet of about 11,000 buses.

The remainder will have to stay parked until they too are converted to CNG.

'Double the time'

CNN's Suhasin Haidar says a ban on diesel-powered buses is causing commuter chaos in New Delhi

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The move has sparked a commuter chaos, making workers late for work. Schools too have been closed to deal with the shutdown.

"There are fewer buses and it takes us double the time to get to our offices," said commuter Vinit Khanna.

"Everyday we have to hear from our bosses about being late, none of which is our fault."

The Delhi government says it isn't at fault either, and has closed schools for two days, until it finds a solution to the chaos.

"I would like to appeal to each of you in this moment of crisis, in this hour of crisis which has come about because of the orders of the court, all of us must get together and help each other out," said Shiela Dixit from the Delhi government.

The government is asking people to car-pool as much as they can, especially since public buses are the only form of mass transport here.

With 13 million people, Delhi is one of the world's most populated cities, and until recently had the world's fourth highest level of air pollution.

The Supreme Court says its decision to allow only CNG-run buses could inconvenience Delhi's commuters for a while, but in the long run it could save them from all sorts of health problems by giving them cleaner air.


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