Create emergency lanes for VIP movement, say shocked Delhi residents

"This is ridiculous and the most shocking thing is this is not the first time," Ramesh Rastogi, a professor said after reading about the death of Anil Jain, a resident of Shahadara, who died Sunday.

Discussing the incident with fellow commuters in the Metro Tuesday morning, Rastogi said: "Traffic restrictions because of VIP movement is a part of everyday life, but someone losing his life because of this is a very serious issue".

Agreed Mahesh Saini, a businessman. "Can you imagine the helplessness of the family while waiting for the traffic to clear so they could rush him to hospital? And this is the third time the prime minister's cavalcade has caused the death of a person!" Saini told IANS.

Anil Jain died of a heart attack Sunday while he was on the way to GB Pant Hospital because his ambulance was held up due to traffic restrictions enforced for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's convoy, his family claimed Monday.

Traffic movement was restricted on the Ring Road because of the 83rd Congress plenary at Burari in northwest Delhi. The Prime Minister travelled to the event by road on Sunday, but took a chopper on Monday.

Jain's ambulance was stuck in Rajghat Sunday night as traffic was apparently stopped in anticipation of the prime minister's convoy. His family said they were stopped for almost half-an-hour from 7.45 p.m. to 8.15 p.m. Sunday.

The Prime Minister's Office Monday ordered an inquiry into the incident.In July this year, the parents of seven-year-old Aman Khan blamed the prime minister's security for their son's death in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh while Manmohan Singh was there for a visit.
In 2009, a 32-year-old man died at the gates of a Chandigarh hospital because medical aid was denied to him, allegedly because of the prime minister's security.

Sarita Raja, a homemaker, said a special lane for emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire engines should be set up.

"If they could do it in Delhi during the Commonwealth Games for the vehicles carrying sportspersons and officials, why not for the common man? A separate lane for ambulances and fire engines will mean saving of precious time and faster access to services and ultimately hundreds of lives saved," Raja told IANS.

"This is just one incident that has come to the forefront. So often we see ambulances being stuck in traffic and it's just so scary - what if one of my family members were in that vehicle tomorrow? The government must think of special lanes for emergency service vehicles, and that's the norm in most other countries," said Shruti Hasan, a young professional.

Adiyta Mech, a student, narrated how he missed his entrance exam because of a minister's cavalcade last year.

"I had my law entrance exam in Guwahati, Assam last year and I simple couldn't make it to the centre because I was stuck in the traffic for an hour and half! All because of a minister's convoy and traffic restrictions. Something should be done so that the common man doesn't suffer everytime a VIP goes out on the road," he said.

Speaking on traffic restrictions, a senior officer of the Delhi Traffic Police said: "It depends for how long the dignitary stays at a function. On the basis of that we decide for how long the vehicular movement has to be restricted or if traffic is diverted to another route.
"We have more traffic jams happening after a VIP route is opened, especially if the road is narrow and congested," the officer admitted.

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