The motorists in the state capital are at the mercy of rally organisers, allowed to take out traffic-stopper demonstrations at will.
Rallies can be organised in the city as and when required in the absence of any regulation. They can continue as long as the participants want because the Patna district administration does not have any rule to slam brakes on them.
The city residents witnessed one such demonstration on Friday. For over half-an-hour, a rally of CPI(ML) brought traffic to a standstill at the busy Dakbungalow roundabout. The commuters sweated it out as the demonstrators squatted on the crossing.
The rally started from Gandhi Maidan and ended at the R-Block, triggering traffic chaos on SP Verma Road, Exhibition Road, Frazer Road and Station Road.
Rajendra Singh, a resident of the Kadamkuan area, said: “I was stuck at the Dakbungalow area for nearly 45 minutes. Then, it took me another 30 minutes to reach the Station Road. How can the administration give permission to these people to block the Dakbungalow Road? It happens frequently and the sufferers are the common people.”
Singh would be shocked to learn that the district administration has no rule to regulate rallies. Sub-divisional officer (SDO) Sadar Maqsood Alam on Friday told The Telegraph: “There are no set norms when it comes to holding rallies in the state capital. Only, a rally moving towards the R-Block cannot take the road leading to the Income Tax roundabout and Beer Chand Patel Path, which is a VIP zone. Nor a rally can move along the Bailey Road. Other than these, there are no regulations.”
Navin Kumar, a student and a resident of the Boring Road area, said: “It is strange that the administration does not have any rule when it comes to the rallies. Can’t they see the problems they cause for the commuters? They should think about a set of rules immediately.”
So, if you are caught in another rally at Dakbungalow roundabout, the only option you have is to hang on till the demonstrators moved.
Alam said Dakbungalow roundabout was the target of most of the rallies. “Where else will the protesters go? They will not hold a protest rally on a street at Kadamkuan because it won’t give them the required mileage. We cannot stop them from going to the Dakbungalow or any road, except Beer Chand Patel Path and Bailey Road. There are no regulations regarding the number of people in a rally or timing.”
Rishi Raj, a businessman, said: “I have my shop near the Dakbbungalow roundabout and rallies along the area are a common affair. They target this place because it is the busiest.”
Alam said: “Permission was taken for Thursday’s rally, but it was just for using microphones. They had said that they wanted to gherao the Assembly.”
The SDO said: “All the rallies targeting the Assembly are stopped at the R-Block. The gate there is locked and the demonstrators can protest there. If any rally goes violent, the police act to maintain law and order.”