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Games lanes choke city.

THAT 30- minute journey to your office will take a good two hours if a dedicated Games lane happens to come in your way, as Delhiites found out on Monday.

Serpentine queues were seen as the Delhi Police enforced 12- hour restrictions on exclusive Commonwealth Games lanes, making traffic snarls on a usual day seem like relaxing stopovers.

But it was the desperate commuters crossing the line into Games lanes who had it worst. They had to shell out a fine of ` 2,000.

This was the first time that lane reservation was implemented on a weekday. Unsurprisingly, it led to chaos on roads, particularly during the rush hours.

As the movement of vehicles carrying athletes and delegates to the Games Village and other venues increased on Monday, the traffic police enforced lane restrictions on crucial east Delhi and New Delhi routes such as Panchsheel Marg, Safdarjung Road, Lodhi Road and NH- 24, that connects Noida and Ghaziabad to the Capital. Bumper- to- bumper traffic was reported on all routes. In most cases, only one lane was left for the movement of general traffic.

" It took me almost two hours to reach Connaught Place from Ghaziabad. On a normal day, it takes me a fraction of this duration," Ramesh Narayan, a private bank executive, said.

" I felt like I was driving through Old Delhi during peak hours," said government officer Ankit Gupta, who had just crossed a jam- packed Panchsheel Marg.

A large number of traffic personnel fanned out across the Capital to manage Gamesrelated traffic, instructing motorists to avoid the blue Games lanes.

Traffic police on Monday also challaned 34 lane violators and issued noticed to 11 others for deliberately entering the Games lanes.

On Sunday, 17 offenders were fined and one vehicle was impounded.

Some commuters complained that they got confused at various roundabouts in central Delhi and inadvertently crossed the Games lane.

A senior traffic police officer admitted people may get confused and said traffic police personnel would help commuters take the right route.

He said motorists would not be " penalised unnecessarily". Around 1,600 Blueline buses plying on 132 routes through central Delhi and near the Games venues were also pushed off the roads, which made matters worse.

The Blueline buses will now ply only after October 16, so as to ease traffic congestion during the Games.

It was a field day for autorickshaw drivers, most of whom allegedly overcharged passengers.

Government officials claimed there were enough Delhi Transport Corporation ( DTC) buses to deal with the shortage of Bluelines. However, the frequency of DTC buses on Monday was low.

Most commuters thronged the Metro instead.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Sep 28, 2010
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