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Hours of agony on choked streets

Some had to wait for hours, some had to walk for around 3km and some had to carry heavy luggage as traffic across the city went haywire to make way for the President’s cavalcade on Wednesday.

Choked traffic and the commuters’ pain were evident across most thoroughfares of Patna for almost four hours during Pranab Mukherjee’s maiden visit to the state after entering Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Telegraph took a round of the city before the President’s convoy passed through the designated routes. Be it Bailey Road, Boring Ro-ad, Frazer Road, Exhibition Road, Station Road or Dakbungalow Chowk, the scene was similar — roads out of residents’ bound. Half-an-hour before the President reached Patna, police had blocked almost all major roads.

A girl was spotted with her father looking for an auto-rickshsaw outside Patna Junction. They had to walk to Frazer Road, around 1km from the station, carrying luggage all by themselves.

Another couple, with their child aged about five, wanted to cross Dakbungalow Chowk and enter Exhibition Road, but were not allowed to do so for security. They did what they only could — brave the scorching sun for around an hour.

Ashiana Mor, Punaichak, Hartali Mor and Raja Pul — the roads that the police had earlier projected as the alternative lifeline for the commuters to Gandhi Maidan through Golghar — also remained choked. Vehicles coming towards Gandhi Maidan from Station Road were diverted to SP Verma Road through Exhibition Road. Buses carrying school children also had to wait for hours in the snarl.

Fifteen minutes before the President’s cavalcade passed through Bailey Road to reach SK Memorial Hall, the arterial road looked deserted.

The only distraction was a sudden shrill of sirens as police vehicles sped in, indicating that the President has almost arrived. What worked as a balm for the tired residents was the sight of the President greeting them with folded palms as his convoy sped through the heart of the state capital.