Delhi Police use Facebook to manage traffic during Bandh

Last Updated 05 July 2010, 12:48 IST

As normal life came to a standstill because of the nationwide shutdown called by the opposition against the fuel price hike, the Delhi Traffic Police's (DTP) profile on Facebook, which has over 10,000 members, instantly, became abuzz with activity.

Traffic officials were constantly updating the Facebook account with information on the jammed roads, diversions as well as roads where traffic was slowly being normalised. Many of the members also chipped in with vital information.

Delhi Traffic Police had started early by posting updates on the traffic situation after the strike at about 10 a.m.

"Traffic obstructions at following points as BJP activists are protesting against price hike - Lado Sarai, Mahaveer Murty towards Gurgaon, Devli Mode, MB Road, Sai Baba Chowk, Rohini, Distt Centre, Janak Puri, traffic staff is present at above places to manage the traffic and cranes have also been detailed," it said.
Thereafter, it gave frequent updates on traffic obstructions, and also responded to queries and information posted by Facebook users.

After 1 p.m. there was a post that read: "Traffic has been normalized at all crossings, which were obstructed due to bandh", which received a flurry of appreciative comments.
Many followers had filled the profile with a plethora of questions. Some like Sanyam Kapoor who was apprehensive on venturing out of home wondered if it was safe to go to Gurgaon. DTP replied with an affirmative within a few minutes.

Neha Gangal, who had to reach Noida by 3 p.m., was troubled by the shutdown. She wanted to know if the Delhi Metro was running or not. She was informed that it was.
Some who were starting from their homes wanted to know if their office routes were clear of road blocks and demonstrations, while others who had reached office wanted to know when the strike would be over so that they could reach home on time.
"Any disturbances on the way from Alipur, GT Karnal road to Madhuban Chowk," asked Vijendra Singh at about 3.30 p.m. Thirteen minutes later, DTP posted its reply: "No information about an disturbance."

Earlier, Anam Usmani inquired about the condition of the road between Gurgaon and Sarita Vihar. DTP provided route directions within five minutes. "From Gurgaon take MG road up to Qutab then turn right towards MB road, turn left Mathura road, turn right under Sarita Vihar flyover," it posted.

Another Facebook user, Amarinder Singh, had even posted photographs of the strike. One photo showed buses stalled, policemen and crowds milling at a crossroad in east Delhi. Another photo was a close-up of a deflated front tyre of a Delhi Transport Corporation low-floor bus which had been stopped in the middle of the road.
Like majority of the capital's roads, the Income Tax Office (ITO) crossing was closed due to the protests. Vinod Kumar inquired if the stretch would be opened by evening. DTP responded promptly, "traffic will be normalized soon".

(Published 05 July 2010, 12:48 IST)

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