Buses, autorickshaws and rickshaws are not being allowed to drop passengers in front of the gates of Central Park, where International Kolkata Book Fair is being held, and visitors to the fair are having to walk around 10-12 minutes to reach the venue.
Police said the move was part of a plan to ensure smooth traffic movement in front of the fairground. But many elderly visitors to the fair are unhappy.
The designated drop-off point for autos, rickshaws and buses headed for Central Park from Sector V is near the tank number 10 island, a 12-minute walk from the fairground.
The drop-off point for autos and buses from other places, including Ultadanga, Beleghata, Phoolbagan and Kankurgachhi, is the Karunamoyee bus stand. It takes around 12 minutes to walk from the bus stand till Central Park.
During lean hours, autos from Sector V are allowed to drive up to the Karunamoyee bus stand.
However, during rush hours and on weekends, when the fair gets the maximum number of visitors, autos and rickshaws are not allowed to go near the gates of Central Park.
“We are regulating traffic depending on the volume at any given point in time. Buses, autorickshaws and rickshaws are not allowed in front of Central Park during the duration of the fair,” said a senior officer of the Bidhannagar police commissionerate’s traffic wing.
“The buses headed for the fair have to stop at traffic islands around the park. These are 500-700m from the gates of the ground. Visitors to the fair have to walk the distance after getting off buses. We are taking a call on autos and rickshaws depending on traffic volume.”
Retired schoolteacher Ruby Sinha, 67, who lives in Salt Lake’s AL Block, said she had taken a rickshaw to reach the Book Fair on Sunday. The rickshaw-puller warned her that he would not be able to drop her off at the fair gate.
“He told me rickshaws were not being allowed near the Central Park gates. I was dropped off at the Karunamoyee intersection. I had to cross the road and walk for at least 10 minutes before I found my friends, who were waiting near gate number 4. It was exhausting as I had set out in the afternoon,” said Sinha.
Signage has been installed to mark alighting points for passengers of app cabs and taxis.
“We are not allowing any cab to stop and wait for passengers in front of any of the gates of the fairground,” said the officer.
The cops are diverting vehicles whenever they find the approach roads to the Karunamoyee intersection getting clogged.
Those headed for the fair in personal cars are parking their vehicles beside Vidyut Bhavan or on a plot near tank number 9 in DJ Block.
During rush hours, the police are using ropes and loudhailers to direct pedestrians.