Traffic in the heart of Calcutta came to a stop for sometime as tens of thousands of people marched towards the Brigade Parade Grounds to attend the chief minister’s rally on Saturday.
But in many other places vehicles kept moving. The Telegraph travelled across the city and found several new arrangements.
They were used to prepare walking bays for rallyists headed towards the venue on foot.
Barricades were put up along Park Street and Chowringhee to ensure people did not encroach on roads and affect traffic movement.
“We wanted vehicles to move at any cost. “Even when maximum number of vehicles and rallyists were headed towards the venue, we tried to ensure traffic did not stop,” an officer said.
A resident of Park Circus who travelled through Park Street to reach his destination in Girish Park found the walking bays helpful.
“At least traffic kept moving all along. People were walking on the footpath and there was no crowd on the roads,” Atanu Hazra said.
The south-bound flank of JL Nehru Road was divided into two flanks.
One was kept for leaders and other dignitaries headed towards the venue while the other was for general vehicles.
“It was equally challenging with so many dignitaries in the city to ensure no one was stuck in traffic,” the officer said.
“Doya kore flyover er neeche diye jaben (please use the road below the flyover),” announcements could be heard at the approaches to the Parama flyover at either end, directing rally vehicles.
The announcements, along with officers posted near the approaches, ensured rally vehicles did not ply on the flyover. A traffic officer said the idea was to ensure rally vehicles stayed off the flyover.
Ruling party volunteers appeared more in numbers and energy than the men in uniform — be it while managing traffic crossings or making announcements on the outskirts of the city.
Metro saw volunteers in jackets of their local clubs managing traffic near the Patuli crossing. On the outskirts, several volunteers had set up podiums with LCD screens to telecast the meeting.
The meeting lasted till late in the afternoon but vehicles on the outer periphery of the venue started leaving around 1pm, almost three hours before the meeting got over.
“Many vehicles that could not reach the venue and had to station themselves a few kilometres from the ground started their return journey earlier than other years,” an officer in central Calcutta said. “Their early dispersal helped when vehicles closer to the venue started moving out later.”