Weekend curfew: Cops barricade inner roads, delay ambulances

Drivers are forced to find alternative routes to patients’ addresses; road barriers put up without alerting hospitals

Published: 25th April 2021 04:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th April 2021 04:42 AM   |  A+A-

An ambulance makes its way through a roadblock during the statewide weekend lockdown, in Bengaluru on Saturday | Vinod Kumar T

Express News Service

BENGALURU: The police setting up barricades across roads to restrict people from driving or riding around during the first weekend curfew, has led to a severe problem ambulance drivers are forced to find alternative routes to patients’ addresses. At a time when roads are supposed to be freed up for easy movement of ambulances, these barricades are posing a big problem.

Quite a few ambulance drivers faced problems on Saturday. One of them, Mahesh, who drives a ‘108’ ambulance said, "It was around 2.30pm and I was looking for a patient's house in Cox Town, and found many barricades on the main road and interior roads of the residential area. I managed to reach after a while and took short-cuts and finally reached Vaidehi Hospital.”

Prateek Rao, a resident of Malleswaram, said, "I noticed an ambulance with sirens blaring and lights flashing, taking a U-turn after being blocked by barricades on the road connecting with Sampige Road. He was searching for a house to pick up a patient. I don't understand why the police have put so many barricades on roads in the interiors of residential areas, making it difficult for ambulances to move around, especially when they are in an emergency.”

A senior police officer from North Division said, "We have put up 35 checkpoints in our division and did not notice any inconvenience for ambulances. We have even pulled aside barricades on seeing ambulances around Yeshwanthpur and Malleswaram.”

However, there are many spots across the city where barricades remain standing and chained to each other, with no policeman in sight to pull them aside when an ambulance comes that way. Another ambulance driver, who did not want to be identified, said "We need to be at the destination in as short a time as possible. Police put up barricades, but don't tell us where they have set them up, and when we get calls, we have to rush.

How will we know where the barricades are until we come face-to-face with them. If there are policemen, they remove them for us. But in many places we have to hunt for an alternate route." BR Ravikante Gowda, Joint Commissioner for Traffic, was not available for comment and did not pick any calls.


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