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BJP anti- price rise rally likely to paralyse Delhi

IF THE reason you give your boss for arriving late in office is a traffic snarl, he will probably accept the excuse without question on Wednesday.

And that is because chances are he himself endured a harrowing jam.

The Capital is set to face a traffic nightmare on Wednesday as the BJP organises a megarally against the government for failing to deal with rising prices of essential commodities.

Thousands of party workers will descend on Delhi on Wednesday to make the rally a " huge success". But the Opposition party's big plans to haul the government over the coals will only spell inconvenience to residents of the Capital.

The worst affected will be north and central Delhi, as well as areas near Ramlila Maidan, where the rally is to be held.

Expect chaos at all railway stations in the Capital and the border roads leading to the Ramlila grounds near Red Fort.

The huge number of buses, trucks and cars which will be used to ferry the workers will also eat into the Capital's already limited road space.

A traffic expert said, " The ideal vehicular speed in Delhi should be 40 kmph. But because of the ongoing construction and revamp work on many roads, this has been reduced to just 20 kmph.

Wednesday's rally will just make it worse." The Delhi Traffic Police admitted that the sudden inflow of lakhs of people in the Capital would throw the traffic system out of gear.

" According to an estimate given by BJP leaders, four lakh to five lakh people would flock to the city for the rally. It would certainly be enough to cause vehicular chaos, especially in central Delhi," a senior traffic police officer said.

Joint commissioner of traffic police Satyendra Garg said people are expected to start gathering at the rally ground around 8 am.

Around 2 pm, the protesters will start a rally from Ramlila Maidan to Jantar Mantar. " We do not expect traffic problems to ease before 5 pm," Garg said.

Keeping in mind the expected chaos, the traffic police on Tuesday appealed to the people to avoid public and private transport and instead use the Metro, especially in central Delhi. Officials said the frequency of the trains will also be increased on the Central Secretariat- Jehangirpuri line.

However, an official of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation ( DMRC) said, " There is no such request from the Delhi Police." He added, " Even if they had made such a request, we would have been unable to comply. We are in any case running our trains at maximum capacity." Protesters from neighbouring states would arrive in Delhi on buses and trucks and would enter the Capital through the national highways.

A traffic police officer said the traffic snarls would start right from the border points. " Inflow of buses during morning peak hours will clog the highways and the ripple effect will be seen on surrounding roads." Trans- Yamuna residents will also see major traffic snarls because buses from Ghaziabad and Noida will enter the Capital through east Delhi roads.

The worst affected will be Vikas Marg and Nizamuddin bridge. " These areas face traffic snarls even on usual days during peak hours. So, one can imagine what the condition would be like when hundreds of buses will flock to the Capital through east Delhi," the officer said.

To ease the additional burden, the traffic police have said goods vehicles entering the Capital will be diverted at Wazirabad T- Point, Chandagi Ram Akhara and the ISBT loop of Shahdara. The entry of carriers will be banned on Laxmi Nagar, ISBT Yamuna bridge, Nizamuddin bridge and Neela Gumbad at Nizamuddin.

Buses will also be diverted at various places. No buses will be allowed on Ranjit Singh Marg towards Gurunanak Chowk from the Barakhamba side.

During the march to Jantar Mantar, traffic snarls may be seen on Parliament Street, Ashoka Road, Barakhamba Road, Tolstoy Marg and Sikandara Road.

Garg said vehicular movement on Ring Road, Mathura Road, Tilak Marg, Bahadurshah Zafar Marg, JLN Marg, Asaf Ali Marg, Netaji Subhash Marg and Ranjit Singh Marg may also be affected.

Besides the rally, BJP MPs are also expected to mark their attendance in Parliament and register protest inside the House.

After this, all the 116 MPs in the Lok Sabha and 47 in the Rajya Sabha are to march towards Parliament Street and court arrest to lodge their protest.

But BJP chairman L. K. Advani was worried about how the rallyists would cope with the unrelenting heat. " People will fall sick if we do not take care," Advani said at a Tuesday meeting. Accordingly, the party has made a lot of arrangements for the protesters.

With inputs from Mail Today Bureau in New Delhi

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Apr 21, 2010
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