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Office-goers, students stranded in peak-hour snarl
- Absence of police personnel compounds woes of residents, late homecoming of wards worries parents

Residents went through a harrowing time on Wednesday owing to a traffic snarl on the Old Bypass Road.

Commuters heading towards the secretariat, other government offices and business establishments in the heart of the town had to wait for hours together to reach their destination.

Office-goers and schoolchildren were the worst sufferers. Students remained stuck in the heavy traffic jam between Rajendra Nagar terminal and Kumharar archaeological site, leaving parents in the lurch. Worried over inordinate delay, a number of parents kept ringing offices of the institutes to ascertain the reason.

“I have been waiting at Kumharar bus stop for the past one-and-a-half hours. Still there is no trace of the schoolbus. My son Ayush, a Class VIII student of a premier public school in western Patna, has not arrived yet. On being contacted, the school authorities simply informed that the bus has already left the institute and would reach the scheduled bus stop,” said Shabnam, a resident of Kumharar.

Shabnam, a homemaker, said she had no option but to wait for the bus, which had not arrived till 4.30pm while the scheduled time was 2.30pm.

Hundreds of peak-hour commuters were inconvenienced because of the snarl. “I am getting late for office. I may be marked absent as I have not reached the office till 11.30am. It took me more than an hour to reach Rajendra Nagar terminal from Bhoothnath Road, a distance of half-a-kilometre. I am not sure at what time I would report to the office,” said S.B. Sinha, an assistant in the secretariat.

Irate commuters complained of absence of policemen on the spot. Former Patna superintendent of police (traffic) Sridhar Mandal had the bitter experience of Wednesday’s snarl. He got stuck in the jam near Kumharar.

Visibly upset, he said: “It took me over two-and-a-half hours to cover a distance of about 2km between Boothnath Road and Kumharar. I had to drop my plans to visit Fatuha where I was scheduled to attend an important meeting. What is worrying is that no policeman was there to regulate traffic, leaving the commuters in a tizzy.” Deputy superintendent of police, traffic (west), Vijay Kumar attributed the reason to protest by a group of students of Nalanda Medical College (NMC). Students got agitated after one of their classmates was detained by a traffic constable for not wearing a helmet. A heated argument ensued leading to the blockade in front of the institute,” he said.

The officer also blamed haphazard parking of vehicles on the roadside. “Construction work is in progress on NH-31, which often causes traffic snarls on the busy road,” he said.

Sources said that city superintendent of police Ashish Bharti later visited the NMC and inquired about the incident.