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Shobha yatra throws city traffic out of gear; commuters a harried lot

Serpentine queues of vehicles seen on roads due to sobha yatra; Covid protocols go for a toss; caught in traffic, a few commuters opted to park their vehicles at railway station and walk to their destinations
Devotees take part in a shobha yatra on the occasion of Valmiki Jayanti in Ludhiana on Sunday. Due to traffic jams on roads leading to prominent spots in the city, commuters had a tough time. (Harsimar Pal Singh// HT)
Published on Oct 18, 2021 01:17 AM IST
ByHT Correspondent, Ludhiana

A shobha yatra taken out in the old city area to celebrate Valmiki Jayanti left thousands of commuters stranded on Sunday. The area around the Old Sabzi Mandi was the worst hit.

Serpentine queues of vehicles were seen on roads leading to prominent spots in the city.

A large number of cops were deployed to regulate traffic. Besides, police were deployed on the elevated road near the Clock Tower to provide a bird’s-eye view to the cops deployed on the ground for the shobha yatra.

However, Covid protocols were simply ignored during the occasion. The traffic police, which remains proactive in challaning commuters for not wearing masks, preferred to look the other way.

The roads leading to Clock Tower, Domoria Bridge, Mata Rani Chowk, Field Gunj and near the Chand Cinema witnessed massive traffic jams.

The lack of coordination between the police and ‘nagar kirtan’ organisers also contributed to the traffic jam. Commuters were caught unawares as the police gave no prior information about the yatra.

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“It has been more than 30 minutes and I could hardly reach the Jagraon bridge in my car,” said a commuter.

Caught in the traffic, some opted to park their vehicles at the railway station and walk to their destinations.

Women were the worst-hit as besides being caught in the gridlock, they were harassed and were pushed and showed.

The chaos also led to pollution and unnecessary loss of fuel as vehicles remained stranded or moved at a snail’s pace. Those who had to deal the most with pollution were two-wheeler riders and pedestrians.

Gurpreet Kaur, while trying to calm down her five-year-old son who had suffered a bout of cough due to pollution, said: “My son is suffering from bronchitis, and I was taking him to the doctor. But we are now stuck in a traffic jam. I don’t know where to go.”

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