New Delhi: Cab-hailing service Ola on Thursday agreed to ply only compressed natural gas (CNG) fuelled vehicles on its platform within Delhi. The app-based aggregator, however, sought two weeks’ time to make the switch.

“An affidavit stating that we are willing to comply with the ban imposed by the order of 29 July of justice Manmohan has been filed today at 10am. The plying of the taxi services before this time should not be taken as contempt of the earlier order," said P. Chidambaram, lawyer for Bhavish Aggarwal, chief executive of ANI Technologies, which runs Ola.

Ola sought two weeks to comply with the order. “We have a system in place but the time is required to ensure that the system is free of bugs and glitches to be fully operational," Chidambaram told the court.

Assuring the court of compliance, counsel for Ola said diesel cabs with all-India tourist permits will not be operating on its platform.

The Delhi government also asked Ola to plant 50,000 trees to make good the loss caused to the environment due to the flouting of the ban.

“I am happy that they have shown concern but the truth is that they have explicitly violated the order. They could have abided from the day the order was passed," said Naushad Khan, standing counsel for the Delhi government.

The July order gave the state government the right to impound all Web-based taxis running on a point-to-point system in the national capital region that did not comply with the Radio Taxi Scheme, 2006, and enforce the ban imposed on 1 January.

The court, while allowing Ola two weeks to comply with the order, directed it to file an additional affidavit stating that it will comply with the statutory provisions under the 29 July order.

“Ola has made available multiple opportunities for driver entrepreneurs to adopt CNG, through various partnerships with car manufacturers, financiers and CNG distributors like IOCL that have further catalysed drivers to comply," the company said in a statement.

To assist driver-partners to conform with the local regulations, Ola said, it has started a first-of-its-kind technology that will help distinguish CNG and diesel vehicles on the app. “It will allow us to be aware as well as keep track of such compliance and will enable users to choose only CNG vehicles for usage within Delhi," the company said.

Shrutika Verma contributed to the story.

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