Vehicles stuck in traffic jams for about half an hour in the afternoon and for over an hour in the evening at various points in the city put a question mark on the tall claims of the Chandigarh Police of making the VVIP visit hassle-free for local commuters on Sunday.
Traffic snarl-ups were witnessed both during the arrival and departure of the French President. The affected areas included the stretch from the airport light point to the Tribune roundabout and then to the Transport light point in Sector 26. Traffic chaos was also witnessed on roads leading to Taj Hotel, Capitol Complex and Rock Garden.
At about 1pm, when President Francois Hollande landed at the airport, police blocked movement of vehicles on the stretch from the airport light point to the Tribune roundabout and then to the Transport light point in Sector 26. Traffic flow was also restricted on the stretch from the grain market to the Golf Club road, where one side of the road was closed for general public. Later, the traffic movement was again blocked when Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived at the airport around 2pm.
Although the VVIP cavalcade was supposed to leave at about 6.30pm, police stopped the traffic movement from 6pm to 7pm. The worst-affected were those going towards Sukhna Lake and Elante Mall.
Amandeep Singh, a resident of Sector 8, said he remained stuck in a jam for an hour near Sector 7/8 roundabout leading to Sukhna Lake. Rohit Sharma, a resident of Sector 37, said he faced no problem while going to Elante Mall at about 4pm, but got stuck in a traffic jam for about half an hour near Centra Mall while returning around 5.30pm.
Mohali villagers also bear the brunt
SAS Nagar: Villagers residing near the Chandigarh International Airport were a harried lot on Sunday as the SAS Nagar police sealed area spread about two kilometre around the airport in view of the VVIP visit in Chandigarh.
Police set up around 10 checkpoints on the airport road from the SAS Nagar and Zirakpur side, allowing only those persons to go through who had to board a flight.
Jagjit Singh, a resident of Bhakarpur village, said: “I went to SAS Nagar in the morning, but when I returned, cops did not allow me through and I had to stay at a friend’s house for nearly three hours.”
Patiala range inspector general Naunihal Singh and SAS Nagar senior superintendent of police Gurpreet Singh Bhullar remained at the airport from the morning till the evening to supervise the security arrangements.
As many as 700 police personnel, including four superintendents of police and six deputy superintendents of police, were deployed in the area, divided into nine zones for the purpose.