Protests by differently-abled at Mandi House choke India Gate with traffic, commuters complain
The protest that triggered Wednesday’s jams was staged by a group of differently-abled persons, who alleged that they had been disqualified from group D jobs of Indian Railways, despite qualifying.Updated: Oct 25, 2019 08:21 IST
A protest by a group of differently-abled people at Mandi House on Wednesday afternoon triggered massive traffic snarls at India Gate C-Hexagon and several arterial roads in central Delhi.
A number of commuters complained that it took them over an hour to cover just a few hundred metres in the evening hours, even as they accused the traffic police of not being present at crucial junctions. They alleged that the traffic policemen did not try diverting vehicles, resulting in gridlocked roads.
Traffic moved at such a snail’s pace for hours in the evening that many motorists said they abandoned their cabs and buses and chose to walk to escape the snarls.
The protest that triggered Wednesday’s jams was staged by a group of differently-abled persons, who alleged that they had been disqualified from group D jobs of Indian Railways, despite qualifying.
Narendra Singh Bundela, joint commissioner of traffic police, said that the protesters began converging at Mandi House by early afternoon. By 2pm, around 200 demonstrators had assembled at the spot.
In the afternoon, traffic at Mandi House and surrounding roads was slow, but JCP Bundela said that the traffic police had begun diverting vehicles. At 2.16pm, the traffic police tweeted about the protest and warned motorists to avoid certain stretch.
By 5pm, the traffic began building up at Mandi House and within an hour, jams had spilled over to India Gate C-Hexagon, beyond ITO intersection and into most adjoining stretches — like Ashoka Road, Akbar Road, Man Singh Road, Jai Singh Road and others.
Over the next two hours, commuters found themselves caught in a long very slow-moving snarls.
A commuter, Tarun Arora, took to Twitter to complain that he had been struck at one point on Ashok Road for 28 minutes. Another commuter, Sugandh Bhatia, said that it took him over two hours to travel from Lal Quila to India Gate – a distance of six kilometres.
Blaming the police for “mismanagement and no planning”, Bhatia,like many others, alleged that there were no traffic policemen in sight. Others said that buses did not ply on the affected routes, leaving them without transportation.
Bundela, however, said that the traffic police had been diverting vehicles to Shahjahan Road and Zakir Hussain Marg and preventig vehicles from getting onto the C-Hexagon. “But the tailgate effect was there,” he said.
Bundela said that there was no shortage of traffic police staff at the affected stretches and said that traffic lights at many junctions had to be shut so that the traffic could be channelled manually. “The police were mostly at the diversion points,” he said.
The officer said that jams had cleared out by 8pm, despite the protesters not dispersing.
Meanwhile, in another part of central Delhi, a Gandhi Sankalp Yatra by the Bharatiya Janata Party Yuva Morcha at 5pm from Faiz Road to Connaught Place also led to snarls along the Faiz Ganj Paharganj to New Delhi Railway Station route.