Must-see-spectacle spirit prevails amid torrent of vehicles

Marooned

Must-see-spectacle spirit prevails amid torrent of vehicles

The first public day of Aero-India 2015 triggered traffic congestions of unprecedented proportions on Airport Road close to the Yelahanka air base on Saturday. Thousands thronged the venue and traffic moved inch by inch.

It took nearly one-and-a-half to two hours to travel from Hebbal to the Yelahanka airbase in the morning and early noon and from the Yelahanka airbase to Hebbal towards evening on Saturday. The length of the traffic jams was easily about a kilometre and a half.

One could see two-wheelers and four-wheelers with college youth and families with young children making their way into and out of the air base. Some of those who had purchased tickets could not get in because of vehicles packing the road fully.

But braving the heat, dust and vehicles, parents got their children to sit on the roofs of cars to watch the planes do their stunts. People put towels on top of the cars and held their children while they saw the stunts by the aircraft. Stuck in the middle, there were no options to buy water or food.

Families sipped water from the bottles sparingly, storing it until they could get into the campus, where colas and water supplies were made available. No one could miss the enthusiasm among the children and their parents.

Mohammed Umar, a resident of RT Nagar, said that on normal days it would take 30 minutes to reach the IAF base from his place. “I have took one-and-half hours to reach the airbase from my residence. The road was packed with vehicles, we were unable to move.”

The rush was so much that two-wheelers started riding on footpaths over a fair distance, with people in the cars looking on, unable to do anything. There were scores of cars parked on the side of the road with drivers realising that the campus could only take so much. Parking cars almost two kilometres away, people walked down towards the gates. The rush was huge at the BSF campus gate all the way to the main gate.

There was no space for pedestrians at all with the roads and footpaths packed with vehicles. What added to the jam was people standing on the roads outside and watching the show.

Early in the morning, people who had purchased Rs-600 tickets were being diverted to the back of the Yelahanka air base. The huge number of tickets and the fact that each rider and driver had to be convinced that the route to the back entrance was different from that to the main gate led to big delays.

It was a miracle that buses moved. The engines on, and vehicles trickling, fuel consumption was high. Fumes coming out of the vehicles polluted the environment. Tickets were checked using an electronic reader and every visitor was frisked.

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