Republic Day parade rehearsals leave Delhi commuters stranded

January 20th, 2009 - 3:13 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 20 (IANS) As in previous years, traffic along the Republic Day parade route was diverted early Tuesday, as the participants rehearsed for the big day. Since bus services along those routes were also suspended temporarily, commuters had to face a tough time - ultimately giving in to the whims of the auto drivers. “Can you believe it, an auto driver asked me for Rs.120 from the Central Secretariat metro station to Moti Bagh, when the actual fare is just Rs. 40!” said Sarita Nair, one of the scores of harried commuters on the capital’s roads.

“But I had no choice. There were no buses and almost all the autos that came that way were occupied. After a wait of 30 minutes and helpless haggling, I finally took an auto paying a fare of Rs.90,” she said exasperatedly.

Ramiya Dey and her daughter, Ashima, who had an appointment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) faced a similar situation.

“It’s such a helpless situation, you know you have no choice but to give in to the auto driver’s demands. Had I known about this earlier, I would have taken the appointment with the doctor in the latter part of the day when the buses start plying again,” Dey said.

While many were caught unawares, there were others who were better prepared.

Rahul Sharma, a student who takes the metro to Central Secretariat and then takes the bus to Vasant Kunj everyday, said: “Last night I was listening to the FM radio where they were announcing that some routes will be blocked in the morning hours and buses will ply only after noon.

“Therefore, I decided to ask for a lift from a friend this morning, otherwise I would have been stuck on the roads like the scores of other people who were at the bus stops and elsewhere,” he said.

According to the Delhi Police commissioner Y.S. Dadwal, traffic will be diverted from parts of the parade route between Vijay Chowk and India Gate next on Jan 21 and then on Jan 23 when there will be a full dress rehearsal of the Republic Day parade.

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