| Buses and other vehicles wait as a rally crosses Master Canteen Square in Bhubaneswar on Friday. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 29: The winter session of the Assembly, which has started yesterday, has already started giving local people and commuters a déjà vu feeling when it comes to vehicular traffic.
Barricades erected at various places on roads approaching the Assembly have started to give people the old feelings of confusion about which routes to take during rallies.
“Every time the Assembly session starts, large numbers of people congregate on Mahatma Gandhi Marg to press for their rights. Their rallies and demonstrations cause us a lot of inconvenience as we cannot go out. Besides, the protesters make the area unhygienic by littering the area and defecating in the public,” said Sarmistha Pati, a resident in Unit II area.
The commuters felt that they were the worst affected during such rallies. As large rallies start either from railway station or Ram Mandir sides, the human chains hold the roads hostage for long time, causing severe headache for daily commuters on Janpath and Sachivalaya Marg.
Commuters alleged that the policemen deployed at different places could not divert vehicles properly on most occasions. “Last time during such session, I had experienced the worst scenario when policemen kept the vehicles diverting at different places virtually forcing the commuters to make rounds of a temple at Master Canteen Square. Policemen should put boards showing proper diversion routes during such situations,” said Gopinath Pradhan, who commutes through Master Canteen Square every day.
This time, barricades have been erected on both sides of Mahatma Gandhi Marg separating it from the service roads. Besides, several arterial roads of Unit-II and Unit-III colonies have been marked for people and vehicles to take diversions during major rallies on Mahatma Gandhi Marg. Several barricades have been erected on Sachivalaya Marg between AG Square and Keshari Talkies and on the roads connecting 120 Battalion to Rabindra Mandap Square and Power House Square to Bhubaneswar Club.
A senior police officer said they were getting complaints during Assembly sessions that big rallies had been blocking busy roads, particularly the Janpath at Master Canteen Square, creating heavy traffic jams and causing severe inconvenience to public. However, they have not come up with any alternative plan despite the complaints and still depend on force deployment to divert vehicles.
“We have our policemen deployed at various places on the roads and they will divert vehicles when rallies march on and block roads. Besides, when the situation goes out of control for the police team accompanying rallies, our quick reaction team rush to the spot to ensure smooth flow of vehicles through diversions,” said inspector in charge of traffic police station Ranjan Mallick.
The police, however, requested commuters to take alternative routes during Assembly sessions as the rallies might cause them unnecessary delay.