Rally, JD(S) meet choke city roads, harass commuters

Traffic disrupted around Vidhana Soudha, Hebbal flyover, Mehkri Circle

Rally, JD(S) meet choke city roads, harass commuters

Traffic was disrupted once again in the city as a protest rally taken out from Town Hall to Freedom Park and a political meet held at the Palace Grounds flew in the face of the police’s alternative arrangements.

For the JD(S) meet at Gate 2 of the Palace Grounds, the traffic police had drawn a detailed plan by marking 14 routes for different vehicles arriving at the venue. By 9 am, however, the increase in traffic was visible with vehicles from all directions choking Mehkri Circle, Hebbal flyover, Palace Road and the surrounding areas.

Dinesh Nayak, a techie, said it took him more than 40 minutes to travel from Taj West End hotel on Race Course Road to National Gallery of Modern Art on Palace Road — a distance of around two kilometres. “Getting stuck in traffic in this summer is the last thing that commuters want. We are forced to undergo the same torture every time there is such an event at Palace Grounds,” he said.

Those at the receiving end of the traffic jam took to Twitter and Facebook to vent their anger. Yogi Beerappan tweeted, “Dear @blrcitytraffic if u can’t handle traffic then please don’t give permission to political parties to conduct rallies in Bengaluru city (sic).”

A protest rally taken out by 2,000-odd SC/ST employees of the Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd from Town Hall to Freedom Park caused bumper-to-bumper traffic on Sheshadri Road and Nrupathunga Road. Just the previous day, the protest by anganwadi workers had affected traffic on the two arterial roads.

B N Anant Kumar, a commuter, said he got off a BMTC bus near Freedom Park and walked for around two kilometres till General Post Office where he could a book a cab.

“We can’t depend on public transport during crises like this. Unfortunately, it seems to happen every day, forcing people to spend on cabs,” he said.

Traffic expert M N Sreehari said the only solution was avoiding big rallies in the city centre and traffic hubs.

“We can’t say protests should be banned. But we can definitely restrict political rallies and allot them space outside the city. We should ask politicians to address the demands of people before they stage protests,” he said.

Asked if police had chalked out a solution to address the traffic problem, Additional Commissioner of Police (Traffic) R Hithendra said such plans wouldn’t work. “We don’t give permission for protests and rallies. We just manage the crisis. There is a new protest every other day and there is a new crisis,” he added.

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