Traffic was stalled in several parts of central and south Calcutta for nearly four hours on Tuesday afternoon as Congress supporters celebrated Somen Mitra’s return to the party.
Students of schools around CIT Road were stranded as vehicles came to a standstill on Lenin Sarani and APC Road. The ripple effect was felt as far as Park Circus and Hazra. Sealdah, Rajabazar, Ripon Street, Esplanade and Chowringhee were some of the affected areas.
A dais was erected on the Moulali-bound flank of CIT Road, in front of the Pradesh Congress office, but Congress activists spread out on both flanks. Police were forced to block the road from 12.10pm to 3.45pm to prevent accidents.
“The north-bound traffic along APC Road was severely hit. The snarl extended till the Park Circus seven-point crossing,” said Dilip Adak, deputy commissioner of police, traffic.
Mousumi De, headed for Esplanade from Park Circus, was delayed by an hour. “There were no buses and the autos refused to ply,” she said.
“It took me an hour to reach Moulali from Bowbazar in a taxi though it is usually a 15-minute trip,” said Subhashis Das, a private firm employee.
Students of Mahadevi Birla World Academy on Darga Road, 4km from the meeting venue, bore the brunt of the event.
As commuters waited helplessly, Congress supporters marched through the roads raising slogans. Rallies came in from Park Circus, Sealdah and other parts of the city.
“There were at least seven large rallies. Besides there were innumerable smaller ones,” said a traffic police officer.
Just when CIT Road was thrown open, a DYFI rally moving along SN Banerjee Road created further problems for the vehicles.
“Normalcy was restored only around 7pm,” said a traffic police officer.