Kochi: Traffic flow along the national highway stretch from Kumbalam to Vyttila almost came to a standstill on Tuesday morning as cops failed to make alternative traffic arrangements when CPI (M)’s flagpole march, being held as a prelude to the party’s state committee meet later this week, entered the district from neighbouring Alappuzha. A serpentine queue of vehicles could be seen for nearly four kms, all the way from Madavana Junction on the city outskirts to busy Kundanoor and beyond as hundreds of office-goers and students among others were caught in the jam witnessed in the section from 8.30 am to 10.30 am.
What made things worse was the cops failing to plan the event in advance, leading to total chaos. When the flagpole march entered the district, the police blocked one side of National Highway 66 in the Madavana-Kundanoor section. Vehicles in both directions were forced to go on the right side of the highway, leading to the traffic jam. This took place amidst an increased number of vehicles on the road on account of the private bus stir, which was withdrawn later in the day. Jam-packed transport buses could be seen lined up one after the other for half an hour, making the commuters restive.
“The police failed to plan in advance for the march. No alerts were provided to the travelling public who could have avoided the route. Worse, they blocked traffic on one part of the highway, effectively taking out three lanes for traffic during the busy hour. This is a failure by the cops and against the ruling of the court. All political parties should also take care in carrying out programmes without putting the life of the public in trouble,” said Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC) President Ranganatha Prabhu.
The traffic jam in the section had its spillover effect at Vytilla and the NH section till Edapally. Traffic along narrow bylanes and arterial roads flanking the national highway was also choked as motorists, including four-wheelers, in their desperation to escape the traffic mayhem steered into them paralysing vehicular movement there as well. “I was travelling to the SBI loan section bank at Palarivattom bypass junction from Kaloor. With no private buses, I tried to hire autos, but, none of the drivers was willing to come on the highway. Finally I managed to get one after a wait of 45 minutes,” said Thara N, a resident of Cheranellor. The CPM state committee meet is scheduled to be held at Thrissur from February 22 to 25.