A shobha yatra rolled out in the old town to celebrate Valmiki Jayanti left thousands of commuters stranded on Sunday. The area around the Old Sabzi Mandi was the most affected.
Lines of serpentine vehicles were observed on roads leading to important locations in the city.
Large numbers of cops were deployed to regulate traffic. In addition, police were deployed on the elevated road near the clock tower to provide a bird’s eye view for the cops deployed on the ground for the shobha yatra.
However, the Covid protocols were simply ignored during the occasion. Traffic police, who remain proactive in urging commuters not to wear masks, preferred to look away.
The roads leading to the Clock Tower, Domoria Bridge, Mata Rani Chowk, Field Gunj and near the Chand Cinema have seen huge traffic jams.
The lack of coordination between the police and the organizers of the “nagar kirtan” also contributed to the traffic jams. Commuters were caught off guard as police gave no prior information about the yatra.
“It’s been over 30 minutes and I could barely reach the Jagraon Bridge in my car,” said a commuter.
Caught in traffic, some have chosen to park their vehicle at the station and walk to their destination.
Women were the most affected because in addition to being caught in a dead end, they were harassed and pushed and shown.
The chaos also resulted in pollution and unnecessary fuel loss, as vehicles got stuck or moved at a snail’s pace. Those who have suffered the most from pollution are two-wheeler drivers and pedestrians.
Gurpreet Kaur, while trying to calm his five-year-old son who had had a cough from the pollution, said, “My son has bronchitis and I was taking him to the doctor. But now we are stuck in a traffic jam. I do not know where to go.