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Rally adds to traffic woes

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 11: Vehicular traffic on the National Highway 5 was disrupted today due to the public meeting of the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, at Baramunda.

Despite police diverting the vehicles and deploying adequate personnel for traffic management on the national highway, residents found it difficult to travel with thousands of BJP supporters rushing towards the venue.

While the police diverted the vehicles, especially buses coming from Cuttack through Rasulgarh Square-Cuttack Road-Kalpana Square-Rajmahal Square-Sishu Bhavan Square-Kargil Road to the Barmunda bus terminal, a number of buses were stranded at the terminal because of the meeting.

However, the buses originating from Barmunda towards Cuttack were allowed to run on the normal route through CRP Square and Vani Vihar Square. The restriction remained effective between 10am and 4.30pm.

Bus services from both Badambadi and Barmunda were completely disrupted due to the meeting.

“Around 1,000 buses originating from Badambadi and Barmunda were stranded en route due to the meeting. Similarly, a number of buses coming to Barmunda from the Khurda-side returned midway,” said general secretary of the State Private Bus Operators’ Association Debendra Sahu.

Because of the huge rally crowd, many people, who come from Cuttack to Bhubaneaswar to attend offices, took day off. “My office is situated at Jagamara, but yesterday, we came to know that there would be restrictions on vehicle movement on the national highway. So, I finally decided to skip office,” said Kshirod Shau, an employee of a private organisation.

Smaller vehicles, including autorickshaws and motorcycles, too, found it difficult to pass through the crowd. Traffic was thrown out of gear at CRP Square, Fire Station Square and Acharya Vihar Square, where construction of overbridges is under way.

The residents had sufficient reason to feel unhappy with the traffic management, as this was the second time in the past three days when utter chaos prevailed on the roads. The first occasion was Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s road show in the city on Sunday when hundreds of commuters were stranded on Cuttack Road and Rasulgarh Square.

However, the police said adequate arrangements were made to ease the traffic during the meeting. “We deployed more than 150 traffic personnel on the national highway for smooth running of vehicles,” said a police official.