Maghi Mela rallies: traffic chaos brings city to standstill

  • Navrajdeep Singh, Hindustan Times, Muktsar
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2016 23:43 IST
(HT Photo)

The mismanagement on the part of the Muktsar administration and the police came to the fore after conclusion of the political conferences of the three political parties, including the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) at the Maghi Mela, here on Thursday, as the acute traffic congestion caused by hordes of people leaving the venues all of sudden, brought the city to standstill.

Following the conclusion of the political rallies by the three parties, a huge jam could be witnessed across the roads, leading to different districts of the state. Thousands of buses and cars remained stuck in the jam for more than six hours. Even till the filing of this report, thousands of visitors were still coping to come out of the chaos.

The situation virtually turned into a nightmare for AAP and Congress workers, as more than 15-kilometre jam could be witnessed near their rally venues the on Muktsar-Bathinda road. Not even a single traffic cop was deployed to ease out the traffic on the road.

However, the SAD workers and leaders had an easy exit since the police and administration chose different route -- Bathinda-Muktsar via Gidderbaha -- for them. Moreover, high security arrangements were put into service to manage the traffic for an easy exit of the SAD workers.

Many of the Congress and the AAP workers alleged that the administration had intentionally not made necessary arrangements, so as to harass the workers of the opposition parties. “When the police and the administration knew about the presence of lakhs of people and vehicles, then why didn’t they make adequate arrangements,” said Varinder Kumar, an AAP supporter, who had come all the way from Khanauri in Sangrur district.

A Congress worker, Ravinder Singh, said many of the workers were out of food and water for the many hours. “It is failure on the part of police and the organisers as they should have put proper arrangements on the ground. Such rallies were only for leaders as after giving speeches, they left the venue with ease, while the workers had to face so difficulties,” he said.

It also turned out to be unpleasant for the local commuters who were moving in and out of Muktsar for various reasons, as they had to wait for several hours to reach their destinations. “We were to visit Barnala for some marriage on Thursday night. But we were stuck in the jam and therefore decided to go back to Muktsar,” said one of the commuters.

Meanwhile, many of the Congress and AAP workers failed to reach the venue due to massive jam during morning hours as well. Though, in order to avoid traffic congestions, many of the senior leaders of AAP and Congress could be seen leaving the venue even before other leaders ended their speech, even after their early departure, many got stuck in the jam. Later, the police personnel reached the spot and tried to divert the traffic to Malaut and other areas.

Muktsar senior superintendent of police Kuldeep Singh Chahal said the chaos prevailed as supporters of both the political parties barged out of their respective venues at the same time. “There was no mismanagement. When more than three lakh people gather, such situation often occurs. I am still there on the spot to ease out the traffic,” Chahal said.

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