Modi visit throws traffic out of gear

Roads wore a deserted look and shops were closed as it was virtual lockdown for around four hours in central parts of Patna on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi came visiting to attend the centenary celebrations of Patna University.

By Dev Raj in Patna
  • Published 15.10.17
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A deserted Ashok Rajpath on Saturday. Telegraph picture

Patna, Oct. 14: Roads wore a deserted look and shops were closed as it was virtual lockdown for around four hours in central parts of Patna on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi came visiting to attend the centenary celebrations of Patna University.

Though everything regarding the movement of the Prime Minister and other dignitaries, including Governor Satya Pal Malik, chief minister Nitish Kumar and deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, was planned and rehearsed by Patna Police, things went haywire after Modi made an unscheduled stop at the newly built Bihar Museum for around an extra half-an-hour.

The maximum impact was seen on the 3km stretch of Ashok Rajpath from Kargil Chowk near Gandhi Maidan to NIT Mor on which traffic was stopped since 9am, though the Prime Minister was to land at Patna airport at 10.35am.

Among other places that bore the brunt of the VIP visit were the route from Patna airport to Kargil Chowk via Bailey Road, Fraser Road and the route around Gandhi Maidan.

"We had restricted entry into Ashok Rajpath from Kargil Chowk to NIT Mor from 9am till the time the Prime Minister exited the area. Only ambulances, patients to Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH), essential services, civil court officials, advocates, and college students with identity cards were allowed," Traffic SP Prantosh Kumar Das told The Telegraph.

"I set out with my family to visit my relatives' place at Danapur for lunch, not knowing that we will be caught in such a huge traffic jam. It's already past 1pm and we are stuck with our vehicle at Dak Bungalow crossing," Abhishek Rai said.

The daily crowd was less as schools and banks were closed as it was a Saturday. But the traffic restrictions ensured that the common people, including shoppers, kept off from the affected roads.

The unscheduled stop of Modi at Bihar Museum brought could have brought about a situation where many could have missed their flights to New Delhi, Ranchi, Lucknow and other destinations but for the Patna Police, which played Good Samaritan for them. As the passengers were stopped at roundabouts and turnings around 2km away from the airport, and were waiting for the Prime Minister's carcade to zip by, his visit to Bihar Museum delayed everything, including their check-in to catch the flights as they were not allowed to proceed towards the airport even on foot.

The police led by Prantosh sensed their predicament and pitched in with their vehicles and patrolling vehicles moving in the area. They transported around 80 people to the airport within minutes, helping them catch their flights.

"My flight to Lucknow was at 1.50pm and I had started for the airport at 12 hoping to reach on time, but we were diverted thrice on Ali Imam Path (Hardinge Road) and then stopped. I had lost all hopes of reaching the airport on time, but the traffic SP suddenly came and dropped me there. We should do something to ensure that travellers do not have to suffer during VIP visits," Kritika Singh, a fourth-year student of Chanakya National Law Universtiy (CNLU) told The Telegraph over phone.

Meanwhile, it took almost an hour more for the traffic to normalise after the Prime Minister left the city.