Delhi-Noida roads gridlocked as police block farmers’ march at the border - Hindustan Times
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Delhi-Noida roads gridlocked as police block farmers’ march at the border

By, Noida
Feb 09, 2024 05:36 AM IST

Such was the gridlock that commuters remained stuck on the road till around 7pm; the tailbacks were reminiscent of the year-long farmers’ agitation between November 2020 and December 2021, when agricultural workers agitating against the Centre’s three farm laws had camped at Delhi’s borders in Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri

Traffic between Noida and Delhi was majorly gridlocked on Thursday afternoon after the police blocked hundreds of farmers of Gautam Budh Nagar from marching to Parliament House in Delhi to press their demands for hiked land compensation and associated benefits.

Farmers from Noida and Greater Noida, en route to Delhi for their protest, were stopped by the police at the Mahamaya flyover in Noida, Thursday, creating major traffic snarls. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)
Farmers from Noida and Greater Noida, en route to Delhi for their protest, were stopped by the police at the Mahamaya flyover in Noida, Thursday, creating major traffic snarls. (Sunil Ghosh/HT Photo)

The gridlock kept growing in size till late evening and also spilled over to other roads as the protesting farmers, including women and children, stayed put near the Dalit Prerna Sthal on the Delhi-Noida Link Road raising slogans, even as Gatuam Budh Nagar district officials and Delhi and Noida police tried to persuade them to turn back.

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Making the traffic situation worse were the barricades,cranes and heavy vehicle placed by the Delhi Police at the Mahamaya flyover, Dalit Prerna Sthal, and Chilla border to stop the protesters.

Such was the gridlock that commuters remained stuck on the road till around 7pm; the tailbacks were reminiscent of the year-long farmers’ agitation between November 2020 and December 2021, when agricultural workers agitating against the Centre’s three farm laws had camped at Delhi’s borders in Singhu, Ghazipur and Tikri, throwing traffic out of gear. That agitation was later called off after the Parliament repealed the laws on November 29, 2021.

Traffic police personnel deployed at the border points said it took nearly two hours after the protest ended around 6pm for traffic to normalise.

As the Delhi-Noida Link Road and Noida-Greater Noida Expressway remained blocked because of the protest, the traffic spilled over to other internal roads and commuters had a harrowing time in reaching their destinations.

Those coming from Delhi had a hard time entering Noida as only two lanes of the toll plaza on the Delhi-Noida-Direct (DND) Flyway were open. Commuters had to take a compulsory left turn towards Sector 18 as the link road to Noida-Greater Noida Expressway was barricaded at the Film City flyover.

The effect was that jams spilled over to Sector 18, Rajnigandha intersection, Atta Market road and Sector 44 roads.

Commuters said the traffic was slow moving even before the protest started around noon, as those headed towards Delhi from Noida and Greater Noida were stuck in traffic owing to heightened security checks at the border. Many motorists blamed Noida traffic police’s poor management for the mess as all roads from Noida-Greater Noida Expressway to Delhi were blocked.

Deputy commissioner of police (Noida traffic) Anil Kumar Yadav said, “Since a large number of farmers gathered on the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway, we had to block the traffic movement from Mahamaya flyover to Noida Gate. Around 5pm, we opened the Film City flyover loop to commuters going from Noida Sector 18 and GIP Mall to Noida expressway,” he said, adding that the traffic police had also issued an advisory a day ago

Cab driver Jitendra, who had to pick up a passenger from Indira Gandhi International Airport around 4.30pm, got stuck in traffic at the Film City flyover from 2.30pm.

“I have not been able to move an inch for the past two hours,” he told this reporter around 4.30pm, ruing the loss of a client. “I don’t know about the traffic diversion, but traffic police should have opened at least one lane to traffic,” he said.

Another commuter, Vijay Singh, who was on a 20-seater mini bus along with his office colleague, said, “The Noida traffic police’s traffic management is abysmal. When they knew that farmers would protest in the city on Thursday, they should have made a proper plan to avoid congestion. They should have opened an alternative route at least. We are on our way to our office in Gurugram and have remained stuck for the past two-and-a-half hours,” he said around 4.45pm.

At many places, people were seen driving on the wrong side after making risky jumps over the divider, unmindful of the damage to their own vehicles and the danger the manoeuvre posed to others.

At many places, people were seen negotiating and arguing with traffic police but the situation remained the same and the congestion kept growing.

Many of the commuters that this reporter spoke to were unaware of the protest or diversion on Thursday and the large-scale barricades caught them by surprise.Police started barricading roads from 10 am and one or two lanes were open for commuters but as farmers’ reached near Dalit Prerna Sthal after crossing the Mahamaya flyover around 1pm, all the roads were completely blocked.

School buses were also stuck in the congestion. “Schools located near the Noida-Greater Noida Expressway were advised to avoid the expressway and take internal roads to reach Delhi,” the Noida traffic police said in an advisory issued around 2.23pm after the entire expressway got gridlocked.

Ambulances, office cabs and commuters were also stuck in the jam.

In neighbouring Ghaziabad, although no farmer turned up to protest, there was a major snarl on the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and NH-9 at Ghaziabad’s UP-Gate border with east Delhi owing to the farmers’ protest in Noida.

The police said barricades were put up by the Delhi Police near UP-Gate to check vehicles and that slowed down the traffic.

“There was no jam as such but the traffic was moving slowly owing to the barricades put up by Delhi Police at the border. The slow traffic persisted for about two hours and later resumed normal flow. In the evening, no snarls whatsoever was reported from Ghaziabad,” said Swatantra Kumar Singh, assistant commissioner of police (Indirapuram).

The snarls on DME were witnessed between 9am and 11am, said traffic police.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Arun Singh works as a senior correspondent with Hindustan Times. He covers crime, traffic, fire, and transport. Earlier, he was working with TOI and covered Bhopal crime and traffic. He started his career in Journalism in 2018.

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