Road No. 9: Route opened after 67 days sees light traffic, some confusion
A day after the Shaheen Bagh protesters moved the barricades on a road to allow commuters to go to Noida via Jamia Nagar, the route saw more commuters, but also a lot of confusion.
Commuters were allowed access to road number 9 after protesters and police removed the barricades. However, traffic was not free flowing as barricades were still on the road, allowing only one vehicle to pass at a time. Police and paramilitary personnel stood guard ensuring vehicles were allowed to pass only in one direction.
The section of the road was closed for 67 days till Saturday evening. Since Sunday was a holiday, there wasn’t much rush at the barricades which opened just enough to allow a car, and maybe a motorcycle at the most, to pass through at once.
The second day of the opening of the road — the stretch allows motorists from neighbourhoods such as Abul Fazl Enclave, Batla House and areas around Jamia Millia Islamia to go to Noida — also saw a lot of confused motorists who were unsure about the new arrangements. The main road -- 13A -- remains under the occupation of the protesters who gathered at the site on December 16 to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
Chand Sheikh, a trader from Batla House, said he called up his friends in Shaheen Bagh before choosing the newly opened route. “My family didn’t want me to take this route. They thought I would have to return mid-way. But the opening of the road has brought relief,” Sheikh said, adding that many people are yet to even know which route has opened and how they can benefit.
The day saw many commuters getting off at the Kalindi Kunj metro station and walking back from the barricades to reach their homes in Shaheen Bagh and neighbouring areas. “The police must open the other carriageway as well so that we can be dropped home by auto-rickshaws and e-rickshaws,” said Taha Khan, a woman walking with her toddler in her arms.
Deputy commissioner of police (southeast) RP Meena had earlier told HT that the opening of road number 9 will not help traffic movement much because it will only benefit local residents. He said that the road was essentially a narrow lane that cannot accommodate large traffic volumes. Police said road 13A, occupied by protesters, was the main road that connects Delhi with Noida, and is used by commuters from South Delhi and Faridabad and vice versa.