Daily commuters had a traffic nightmare for the major part of the day on Thursday, as thousands of Congress workers blocked the busy Vidhan Sabha Marg in support of their demands. As a result, the traffic on all the connecting roads was thrown out of gear.
It all began at 1 pm when Congress party workers including many senior leaders, in groups of hundreds, poured in on all roads leading to the Vidhan Bhawan.
Some women’s groups staged a sit-in just in front of the Assembly.
Before this, they had assembled at the Laxman Mela ground where senior party leaders addressed them.
Within half an hour, the numbers started increasing and the protest took a shape of a big gathering as the workers, undeterred by the requests of police and administration officials, tried to reach up to Vidhan Bhawan.
Consequently, police blocked the main road, diverted traffic on other roads leaving all adjoining roads chock a block with vehicles.
With the traffic jams on all the connecting roads not relenting till 4 pm, many passengers missed trains.
Quite a few parents and guardians could not pick up their children waiting in schools in the vicinity.
By and large, emergency services were also crippled.
“The authorities should plan in advance for such protests because it is the common man who ends up suffering,” rued Arvind Sharma, a commuter, who had to pick up his children from CMS Station Road.
The protest, which lasted for four hours, forced the traffic to move at a snail’s pace.
While people stuck in the jam were seen complaining, several others were seen walking their way from Hazratganj towards Charbagh and vice-versa.
Such was the intensity of the chaos that the on-duty traffic cops on main Hazratganj crossing reportedly gave up their efforts to regulate the traffic, which made the matters worse.
As the agitating Congress workers marched ahead from Vidhan Bhawan towards the Annexe, it resulted in further traffic jam on the roads. Traffic crawled on the road leading to Raj Bhawan.
Similar chaos was seen along the Ashok Marg for four hours.
The situation normalised after police cane-charged the protestors near Bapu Bhawan.
“The numbers were so huge that we could not control the situation. Finally, it eased at around 4 pm,” said RP Singh, additional district magistrate, (East).
Thursday’s protest was not the first time when traffic became a casualty.
Inconvenience apart, several party workers were injured in the police lathi-charge in their attempt to gherao the Vidhan Bhawan.