Traffic diversion at India Gate leaves commuters stranded

February 7th, 2010 - 2:35 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) ‘Avoid this route between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. today’, read a banner near the India Gate Sunday. Though aimed at making the Delhi commuters aware of the marathon here, the message was too little and too late for hundreds of people who were stranded.
The commuters stranded on the roads complained that they had no idea about the traffic diversion.

“How can you put up a banner asking people to avoid the route on the day of the marathon? I was not even aware of the traffic advisory. We had no idea that there will be a three-hour traffic diversion on this route,” said Arjun Kumar, a stranded commuter.

“Initially because we were clueless, my wife, I and our child waited at the bus stop for about half-an-hour. Then we asked a traffic policeman nearby who told us about the diversion. After that we had to walk for at least two km until we got an auto, which as expected over-charged us,” he fumed.

Anuja Sharma, a college goer, had a similar tale.

“I didn’t know about the diversion so I took the metro till Central Secretariat and stood waiting to take a bus to Saket where I was supposed to watch a film with my friends. But because of all this confusion, I spent 45 minutes walking and hunting for an auto. I managed to reach the cinema hall, but half-an-hour after the movie began,” Sharma told IANS.

Traffic police officials, however, said that advisories were issued on radio and TV a day before the marathon.

“Moreover it’s a Sunday so the traffic is not heavy. And the diversion was in the first half of the day, so people were not too affected,” the official added.

The entire route of the marathon spanned from the India Gate, including Sansad Marg and Tilak Marg, all the way to Minto Road, Janpath and Connaught Place.

Shyam Das, another commuter, said: “It may be a weekend, but people still go out on Sundays and without prior information about traffic diversions, the holiday mood is really spoilt.”

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