CHENNAI: City commuters had a harrowing time on Friday due to traffic snarls. The road from Kathipara to St Thomas Mount was blocked around 12.30 pm and vehicles started piling up on the arterial roads. Though the police had earlier announced that smooth flow of the traffic would be ensured, commuters had tough time as vehicles on the arterial roads were diverted without prior notice.
“Until Thursday we were told that only the way through which the convoy comes from the airport will be blocked, but on Friday morning instructions were issued to us not to allow any vehicles near the Anna Salai,” said a police officer on bandobust duty. Even trains were blocked from 12 pm to 1 pm, due to which commuters in large numbers gathered at Guindy bus stand.
However, buses were also not available. “Anticipating traffic congestion, I decided to take the train. But no train or bus service was available,” said K Murugesan who works in a private college in Pallavaram. People working in the MGR University near the ITC Grand Chola were not allowed to pass either. “The bus stopped at St Thomas Mount and I walked all the way here but they did not allow me to cross the hotel. I reached here by 12 pm and the police say they will allow only after the convoy gets inside. So, I had to wait for two hours to get to the building just a few metres away,” said K Priyadharshini, who works as an administrative staff.
Ambulances face trouble
Around 1 pm, with the roads blocked for the Chinese convoy, an ambulance from Velachery plying towards Guindy got stuck. “I have been roaming around the Guindy and Velachery area for more than one hour. Everywhere traffic is blocked and the police are not allowing us anywhere near the Anna Salai or Sardar Patel Road,” said the 108 ambulance driver, who had to halt at the Guindy railway station until the traffic is cleared.
Around 1.30 pm, another ambulance at St Thomas Mount was caught in traffic. When the traffic police tried to clear the vehicles to make way for the ambulance, a team of Special Action Force stopped the vehicles and the ambulance. The patient was stuck for another hour. However, the policemen deployed on the roads near the airport were lenient towards the ambulances. They made all arrangements to ensure smooth passage of ambulances along the stretch. At least, three ambulances were allowed to pass without hindrance.