NALGONDA/HYDERABAD: Hyderabad’s roads were slightly empty on Wednesday, thanks to its migrant population, mostly from neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, leaving for home to cast votes. Trains and buses, many of them heading east, were packed to the brim. None of them, it seemed, wanted to lose the opportunity to participate in the exciting battle between TDP and YSRCP in the sibling Telugu State.
Hundreds of vehicles were stalled at toll plazas on the Hyderabad-Vijayawada national highway. The three toll plaza on this road — Panthangi, Korlapahad, Chillakallu — were choked at all booths. At Panthangi plaza, there was a 1.5 km-long stretch of cars waiting to pay their tolls. The Narketpalli-Addanki stretch too saw heavy traffic. Police personnel from several areas were deployed at the plazas to ease traffic.
Toll booth operators noted that the traffic could increase in the coming days owing to summer vacations.
On Thursday, they saw around 5,000 vehicles pass through against the usual 2,000-3,000.
Sridhar Reddy, manager at GMR Infrastructure Ltd, told Express: “It was quite busy between 7:30 am and 8:30 am. After that, the rush was quite manageable. Due to the increase in traffic flow, we opened reserve toll gates at all three plazas. Some of our employees used hand-held vending machines to ease the movement.”
Similar crowds were also seen at railway and bus stations across the city.
Vehicle owners had expected the government to cancel all tolls for the day, as was done during Sankranthi in January this year. However, this did not happen.
Private firm cancels buses
Meanwhile, several voters travelling to Andhra Pradesh panicked when a private travel company, Kaveri Travels, cancelled a few buses going to the State. Several customers took to Twitter to complain about the same. Some claimed a political party, in an attempt to influence the elections in AP, pressured the company to cancel its services.
Around 125 buses were reportedly cancelled. However, officials from Kaveri did not confirm this number. They said they were trying to accommodate passengers heading to different parts of AP.