More chaos likely today as Kanwar rush slows NCR traffic to a crawl
Commuters in Delhi and NCR are likely to face long traffic snarls as devotees will hit the road on Tuesday to mark Sawan Shivratri.
The Delhi Traffic Police said that over 2,000 traffic officials will be stationed across the city to manage commuters along with the thousands of Kanwariyas and devotees. To manage the security arrangements, nearly 6,000 police and paramilitary personnel are being deployed, especially along the borders of the city.
In an advisory issued by the Delhi Traffic Police, the officials asked commuters to avoid stretches around Kalindi Kunj, Mathura Road, Akshardham, Sarita Vihar, Apsara Border, Noida Link Road towards Noida, Loni Road, Delhi-Meerut expressway and Faiz Road.
“Road 13A (towards Kalindi Kunj) has been provided for the movement of Kanwariyas, hence there will be no traffic on this road on Tuesday,” the traffic advisory read.
Noida bound traffic from Faridabad will also be stopped for traffic going towards Kalindi Kunj. Similarly, traffic on Agra Canal Road will remain completely stopped.
Meanwhile, commuters in Delhi on Monday were caught in long snarls with the city’s traffic police closing roads and diverting vehicular movement for kanwariyas, who entered the city in large numbers on the eve of Sawan Shivratri.
Starting early on Monday, roads around the Kalindi Kunj ghat saw a wave of saffron-clad pilgrims on foot, packed on trucks and two-wheelers.
To facilitate the safe movement of the Kanwars while avoiding major jams, the traffic police restricted traffic movement, and closed sections of certain roads.
Traffic movement was slow around Shahdara flyover, Apsara border, Seelampur tri-junction, ISBT flyover, Rani Jhansi Road, Faiz Road, Dhaula Kuan, National Highway-8, Wazirabad Road, and Loni flyover.
Though all motorists were advised to avoid Road 13A — the main road connecting Mathura Road with Kalindi Kunj— the police said traffic coming from Ashram was directed towards the U-turn below the Sarita Vihar flyover and reached Noida via the DND flyway.
“I was stuck on Mathura Road near New Friends Colony for over 25 minutes in the morning. There were two police officers trying to manage vehicles honking from all directions and with rows of kanwariyas walking. The affected stretches should have been better handles,” said Monish Bhattacharjee, a resident of Sarita Vihar, who was caught in peak-hour traffic on Monday.
Pritha Tyagi, a regular commuter on Patparganj Road, said a commute that takes her 10 minutes during peak-hours took her nearly half an hour on Monday.
“We respect everyone’s religious sentiments and rituals, but in many parts here Kanwariya camps have been set up right in the middle of the roads, blocking movement completely. The traffic police or the government needs to check the private camps, which inconvenience the public,” Tyagi said.
Officials said they beefed up security across the city for Monday and Tuesday — crucial days for the movement of devotees, and have taken several measures to ensure “hooligans” do not create any disturbance.
Deputy commissioner of police (northeast) Atul Kumar Thakur said special arrangements have been made to secure 52 camps set up in his jurisdiction and the passages created for kanwariyas.
“Each camp has 10-15 CCTV cameras to keep a vigil on kanwariyas and others using the camps. As per our security plan, each person has to pass through door-frame metal detectors and they are being frisked using handheld metal detectors. We have installed watch towers and sandbag barriers to keep an eye on suspects. Bomb detection and disposal teams check all the camps,” Thakur said.
To manage snarls in high traffic stretches, the traffic unit has decided to reach out to people using their social media handles.