Rallies, rain and Puja shoppers choked the arteries in the city’s heart on Tuesday and brought traffic to its knees.
The CPM convened a meeting in front of BC Roy market within earshot of a group of imams holding a rally on the west-bound flank of Rani Rashmoni Avenue.
The CPM’s protest against the death of a party leader at Basirhat in North 24-Parganas the day before blocked two-thirds of the north-bound flank of JL Nehru Road. Only small cars could pass while buses were diverted through Mayo Road to reach the KC Das crossing. “The route diversion created a snarl,” a police officer said.
The imams, protesting the high court ruling that called the government’s dole to them unconstitutional, kept vehicles off the west-bound flank between 1pm and 4pm on RR Avenue.
The afternoon rain added to the chaos on the stressed stretches of AJC Bose Road between Exide and Park Circus.
A traffic officer said: “Cars were not moving at normal speed because of rain and by the time it stopped pouring, students of schools in the area were ready to return home. The school buses and cars of guardians picking up their wards poured into the overcrowded roads, triggering an hour-long snarl along AJC Bose Road.”
“I was going to College Street. The detour through Mayo Road took many extra minutes to reach the KC Das crossing. I got late,” said Sohom Sengupta, a student.
When the roads finally breathed easy in central Calcutta, the surge of peak-hour traffic began.
Places away from the rally zones were also affected, albeit for different reasons.
A college teacher took a taxi from Park Street at 11.35am and reached Bhowanipore at 12.15pm. “The taxi meter read 2.9km… waiting time was 29 minutes,” he said. Vehicles were stranded on Loudon Street, he added.
In Gariahat, rain gave Puja shoppers a tough time while commuters had to weather many yawning minutes on the road because of the shoppers.
“It took me 45 minutes to reach Kalighat Metro station at the Rashbehari crossing from the Ruby roundabout in a cab. There were people crawling all over the place at the Gariahat crossing. I was stranded at the traffic light for more than 15 minutes,” said an employee of a private firm.