Multiple rallies in Calcutta crippled traffic on Wednesday and caused inconvenience to motorists and pedestrians alike.
At least five processions crisscrossed the city between noon and 3 pm disrupting traffic in pockets of south and central Calcutta. The situation became normal after 4.30 pm.
Many who happened to travel through any of the rally routes got stuck. A large number of them had to take a detour to reach their destinations.
Chowringhee, SN Banerjee Road, Lenin Sarani, College Square, Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road, JL Nehru Road, Ashutosh Mukherjee Road, Hazra Road, Rabindra Sarani, Bentinck Street, Dorina crossing, Central Avenue, BB Ganguly Street, Ganesh Chandra Avenue, Moulali crossing and Park Circus crossing were the worst-affected stretches, police said.
A political rally that started from College Street and terminated at Esplanade had the worst impact on the traffic. The march continued from 1.45 pm to 4.15 pm, winding its way through College Street, Nirmal Chandra Street, SN Banerjee Road, Dorina crossing and Esplanade.
Metro spotted several school children, ambulances, buses and private cars stuck in snarls at the Esplanade crossing around 4pm. Hundreds of rallyists marched blocking both flanks of Chowringhee, bringing traffic in the heart of the city to a halt.
“I had to wait patiently for the procession to pass. I was stuck at multiple signals between the Park Street crossing and Esplanade intersection. The journey usually takes five to seven minutes. Today, it took me around 30 minutes to cross that stretch,” said Samya Basu, an IT professional, who reached Esplanade around 3.50pm.
Another Calcuttan, who was taking her mother to a doctor’s clinic on CIT Road, got stuck on the Sealdah flyover around 1pm. “We were late for the appointment,” Malini Gupta said. “I was not aware of the rally. Else, I would have taken a different route.”
Apart from the roads through which the processions passed, several adjoining roads were affected because of the ripple effect.
“It takes me about 20 minutes to reach Kidderpore from St James’ School via the AJC Bose Road flyover. Today, it took me 45 minutes. I was stuck on the flyover for 20 minutes,” said a teacher of the school.