Protest Brings Traffic to a Crawl
BANGALORE: Sugarcane growers protesting against non-payment of dues brought the city to a standstill on Friday afternoon. Hundreds of farmers from across the state blocked the stretch from City Railway station from around 11 am and began their rally from there towards Vidhana Soudha.
The farmers blocked an arterial road without taking permission. Late in the eveing, Additional Commissioner of Police Kamal Pant legal proceedings against the protestors have been initiated.
Blocking of Seshadri Road saw problems rippling across the city - buses from Majestic were delayed, slow moving traffic was reported from Basaveswara Circle, Race Course Road and Anand Rao Circle apart from the entire Majestic area. Vehicles moving towards Malleswaram, Cottonpet, KG Road and Rajajinagar were diverted via the JD(S) office.
As the farmers had blocked the Anand Rao flyover entrance, BMTC buses that head towards Banshankari, Basavangudi, Shivajinagar, Coles Park, Hennur Cross, Jayanagar and Uttarahalli were stranded.
Several buses were forced to remain inside Kempegowda bus terminal and with this, buses coming from outside could not enter the bus stand leading to more traffic jams.
On the Road
BMTC’s Sarathi staff were seen struggling to clear the jam while many bus drivers caught up on their reading. When the slow-moving traffic did not seem to pick up pace after over an hour, frustrated commuters decided to walk to their destinations. Some even tried jumping over the barricade (median) near the station.
“There are traffic jams near the entrance of the terminal for 10-15 minutes usually. But today, it was for hours. I had to walk at least a kilometre as none of the auto drivers were ready to come. Few autos plying beneath the flyover demanded more. I had to pay `80 from Anand Rao flyover junction to Corporation with no other option,” said Veena, a professional.
Ram Prasad, who works with a private firm, was of the opinion that protests should be restricted to Freedom Park and not incovenience citizens.
“From Okalipuram to Raj Bhavan Road, it took me two hours. There were no policemen to manage the traffic. There were passengers who missed their trains because of this. Others were forced to get off mid way and walk to their destinations. No one should be allowed to do this to any place,” he fumed.
Over 120 traffic policemen, including officers, were deployed in different parts of the city which were affected by the protests, according to Traffic DCP (West) S Girish.
“Because of the road being blocked, there was extremely slow moving traffic for about four hours. The traffic police did their best to manage the traffic, all of which had come towards Basaveshwara Circle via the JD(S) office. Basaveshwara Circle itself sees heavy movement of vehicles throughout the day and the diverted traffic only made it worse,” he said.
When asked why the police did not do anything to stop the protestors from blocking the road, Pant said while the police tried to convince them to move to Freedom Park or to make way for vehicles, the protestors did not budge. “It was up to the jurisdictional police to use force to move the people and they chose not to,” he maintained. According to police, around 1,200 people had initially come to participate in the rally, but about 800 people blocked the entrance to the flyover near Freedom Park.
The rally and dharna was finally called off when some leaders of the protestors met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and convinced the protestors to end the rally.