Monday morning is likely to be chaotic as Kanwarias, disciples of Lord Shiva carrying Ganga water from Haridwar, will compete for space on city roads with office goers. The Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway that is notorious for jams will have to make space for these pilgrims on the service lanes in addition to the routine peak hour rush.
Kanwar yatra is an annual pilgrimage, one of the largest in north India. Kanwarias are passing through Gurgaon en route to Shiva temples in their hometowns in the state and neighbouring Rajasthan.
Groups of saffron-clad Kanwarias have already started passing through the district as part of the yatra that began on July 17.
The Gurgaon police and administration have put in place elaborate arrangements to ensure a smooth passage of Kanwarias. The authorities have installed jersey barriers to demarcate a corridor for pilgrims on the service lanes of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway.
The authorities have also deployed 1,000 police personnel and 400 home guards to manage traffic on the expressway. Besides this, 500 officials will also be deployed at nearly three dozen spots, including Pataudi Road, Farrukhnagar Road and Sohna Road.
The police has reiterated that the movement of ‘Dak Kanwarias’, who take turns to carry Ganga water for a fixed distance before handing it over to another Kanwaria moving in a vehicle behind, will be restricted. Dak Kanwarias are a major cause of jams because of their slow moving vehicles.
“Taking into account that a number of accidents happened during the pilgrimage in Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, we won’t allow ‘Dak Kanwarias’ on the route. If someone is found violating the orders, he/she will not be allowed to travel further,” Akil Mohammad, additional director general (law and order) of Haryana police, said. Mohammad presided over a review meeting with Gurgaon police on Sunday.
The police has requested pilgrims to play their music in low volume. They have also requested commuters to slow down whenever they are moving along pilgrims.
“More than 12 patrolling teams have been deployed in vans. Barricades have been set up at 10 possible traffic bottlenecks,” a Gurgaon police spokesperson said.
The progress of the pilgrimage will be monitored round the clock through CCTV cameras installed on the expressway. The highway operator has also deployed traffic marshals for the purpose.
The Gurgaon administration has issued directives that camps for pilgrims will be set up 100 metres from national highways and 50 metres from state highways. Besides, the administration has also declared Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) that prohibits an assembly of more than 10 people.