Surging crowd choke roads, trains in Chennai

Footfall in Chennai Metro Rail also increased several fold since Tuesday evening.

CHENNAI: Roads and railway lines were choked throughout the day on Wednesday, as citizens rushed to their native places from here to perform their democratic duty of exercising their franchise. Apart from the April 18 general elections and bypoll to 18 Assembly constituencies, Good Friday falls just a day after the polls, followed by Easter on Sunday.

As a result of five days of continuous holidays since Wednesday (Mahavir Jayanthi), a large number of people crowded the Chennai Mofussil bus terminus in Koyambedu, to board buses to their respective destination. Almost all buses operated with total capacity. All coaches in long-distance trains were filled to capacity at the Egmore railway station, Puratchthalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central Railway station and the Tambaram railway station.

Footfall in Chennai Metro Rail also increased several fold since Tuesday evening. Normal flow of vehicular movement was affected on arterial roads leading to Vellore, Tindivanam, Puducherry, Tirupati and other places. Normal traffic was affected since 7 pm on Tuesday in Tambaram and Perungaluthur.

Neither the state government nor the election commission made necessary arrangement to operate additional bus services for people across the State to enable them to cast their votes. People also faced problems in catching buses in Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, Tiruchy, Salem, Krishnagiri and Ramanathapuram. Meanwhile, all private bus operators and all omni bus operators are seen fleecing commuters. Ticket fares were hiked by 50 per cent to 80 per cent on Wednesday. VS Suresh, Madras High Court advocate said, "It is very wrong to hike fares. There is no specific law to fix fares for omni buses. The government has the power to fix rates for private and omni buses. But they have failed to fix the fare. Hence, private bus operators have increased the fare illegally. Especially during festivals, they hike fares by 80 per cent. Authorities must curb fleecing and protect the commuters."

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