“If they (police barricades) hold up people on roads for so long, people will turn (into) criminals,” said an angry Arti Sharma when she learnt the jam in which she was stuck was due to police barricades put up to catch criminals.
Sharma, stuck for almost an hour, missed an important appointment at Khan Market.
She was not the only one whose schedule was disturbed because of the severe jam caused by police barricades on Nizamuddin Bridge on Wednesday. There might have been youngsters going for job interviews or, for that matter, executives headed for important engagements.
And God forbid, no ambulance carrying a critical patient should get stuck in the rut like this. You were lucky if you were not traveling from Mayur Vihar or for that matter from Ghaziabad towards Ring Road.
Delhi Police had put up barricades at the edge of the bridge leaving space only for a single vehicle to pass at a time. This led to a huge pile-up of vehicles well beyond the Akshardham junction.
To add to the chaos were six broken down vehicles on the same stretch. Fortunately all of them were pulled to the roadside, so as to cause least inconvenience to commuters.
Traffic officials claim the district police have the authority to erect barricades on their own and they need not take any permission from traffic point of view.
Said a senior Delhi police officer, “Barricades are important for effective policing. They are important tools that prove as a deterrent to criminals. In the event of robberies or shootings, security checks are normally run on two-wheeler drivers.”
Observes V.N. Bali, secretary of an RWA from East Delhi, “After incidents of chain snatching or shooting, instead of solving the cases scientifically by placing eyewitness accounts, forensic evidence and criminal intelligence, the only step taken by Delhi police is putting up barricades and holding up peak-hour traffic.”
The barricades on Wednesday — both during afternoon and evening — were to check the spiralling incidents of snatching and shooting, particularly in Delhi, sources said adding, police suspect the criminals generally come from Uttar Pradesh and hence roads leading to the border become crucial.
In any case, “enforcement of law and order will always take priority over traffic pile-ups. People will have to bear that,” said a senior traffic official.