KARAIKAL: The vibrant atmosphere inside the indoor stadium during the Karaikal Carnival brought cheers to thousands, marking the culmination of the four-day festival organised by the Karaikal district administration and Puducherry Tourism Department.
However, outside the stadium, chaos ensued as massive traffic jams paralysed the roads for hours on Wednesday evening. The 'Karaikal Karnival,' aimed at providing recreational activities for the public, boosting tourism, and supporting local businesses, featured various events and programs.
The festivities began on Sunday with Puducherry Agriculture Minister 'Theni' C Djeacoumar inaugurating the events. The Indoor Stadium served as the center of the carnival, hosting cultural events, music concerts, a flower exhibition by the Puducherry agriculture department, and even a dog show. Food stalls, vendors, and traders at the grounds reported good business, benefiting from the massive turnout.M Salman Ali, a migrant from Assam,
"Since lots of children came, I was able to sell more toys. I saw huge gatherings in Karaikal." Despite the festive spirit inside, the overflow of spectators created traffic snarl extending nearly two kilometers outside the stadium. Last year's carnival experienced similar traffic congestion, but this year's chaos reached new heights with many not able to get seats inside the ampthitheatre or the event tent during singer Andrea Jeremiah's event.
Senior officials from various departments were concentrated inside the stadium, leaving the situation unmanaged outside. Mobile phone signals within a kilometer radius of the stadium became unreliable due to the massive gathering, causing communication challenges for attendees.
Auto-rickshaws and buses faced difficulties navigating through the traffic, leaving many attendees with no choice but to walk for several kilometers. Ambulances were also caught in the congestion, exacerbating the challenges for those in need of urgent medical attention.
Kumar, an auto-rickshaw driver from Karaikal said, "It was hard to access places due to heavy traffic congestion. It took an hour to cross a distance which needed only ten minutes."