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Blockade woes

Hundreds of commuters were stranded on VIP Road and Jessore Road on Monday afternoon following a blockade by employees of Jessop and Co. in front of the airport gate No. 1 for over an hour.

The group was protesting the closure of the company.

Long queues of stranded vehicles were seen on both arteries but the airport authorities and officials of several airlines said they had not received any report of passengers missing flights.

According to police, the queues of stranded vehicles had extended beyond Gorabazar and BT College along Jessore Road and up to Teghoria on VIP Road.

“I have an appointment with my lawyer in Barasat. I won’t be able to reach on time because of the snarl,” said Koel Ganguli, a homemaker who was stuck near Teghoria in a taxi.

Shampa Chakrabarty, a laboratory technician who was returning from Basirhat through Birati station, said: “My three-year-old son is alone at home with a help, whose shift will end at 5pm. Now it is 5.30pm and I am still stuck at Birati. I don’t know when I’ll reach home.”

The VIP Road-bound minibus that the Madhyamgram resident was travelling in was stuck at Birati for close to an hour.

Police said the agitators, around 100, marched from gate No. 12 of the factory till airport gate No. 1 and put up a blockade at 4pm, demanding immediate reopening of the factory.

“We know commuters are being harassed because of the agitation but we are helpless. The situation has forced us to block the road,” said Srikumar Mukherjee, the secretary of the Employees’ Unity Forum that conducted the demonstration.