Ranchi, Nov. 13: The district administration has put the capital under a virtual state of emergency on November 15 in the light of deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s proposed trip to the city to attend the Foundation Day celebrations.
The city has been converted into a cantonment of sorts and citizens have been instructed not to argue with policemen on duty and instantly obey their orders.
Heavy traffic restrictions have been imposed on the nearly 15-km route from Birsa Munda Airport to Morahbadi Maidan via Raj Bhavan that Advani will take.
“Vehicular movement on this road up to Morahbadi will be totally banned for everyone and no arguments, whatsoever, will be entertained by the police personnel on duty. We ask the people to obey the orders,” said senior police superintendent M.V. Rao, after being authorised by deputy commissioner Jaishankar Tiwari to speak on his behalf at an “emergency” news conference today.
The administration has, however, allowed pedestrian movement on the road.
Advani is expected to arrive by an IAF plane at 12 noon and leave by 5 pm. The restrictions, however, will be in force from 9 am to 6 pm. Even those with passes for the function have been asked to take a different route.
Rao said the restrictions are being clamped in light of “international threats” to the life of the deputy Prime Minister. Asked if the arrangements will not cause inconvenience to the people, the police official said: “VVIP security is much more important. You cannot simultaneously enjoy a cultural programme at the celebration venue and take care of VVIP security. Dono ka mazaa saath saath nahi le sakte (You cannot enjoy both things together).”
Similar arrangements on November 14-15, 2000, when Jharkhand was born, had attracted widespread criticism from the residents of Ranchi and Opposition parties. Advani had attended the function that year. The birth of the state had thus become an “official” affair with the people hardly venturing out.
“The residents of HEC will have to take a much longer route via Nai Sarai to reach Morahbadi as Harmu Bypass Road will be closed for vehicular traffic,” he added.
Heavy vehicles coming from Jamshedpur, Khunti, Gumla, Palamau and Patratu will not be allowed to enter the capital from 6 am to 9 pm on November 15.
The district administration sprang a surprise by announcing the same parking arrangements as its own which were declared by the state unit of the BJP earlier in the day. Asked to clarify whose parking arrangement it was, the deputy commissioner said: “I do not want to get into this controversy. A hole has been made. How does it matter whether it is inhabited by snakes or rats'” The administration has, incidentally, earmarked one of the parking slots on Harmu Bypass on which it has banned all traffic movement.
Asked if moving without vehicles would be tough on the long stretch, the senior police superintendent said: “Jahan jahan bada programme hota hai, wahan log kaafi door tak paidal chalte hain (Wherever there is a big programme, people have to walk long distances).”