Noida: The Auto Expo 2020 scheduled to open for the public on February 7 is expected to boost traffic in the district by manifold. But with Kalindi Kunj remaining blocked due to the ongoing protest at Shaheen Bagh, Noida-Delhi commuters are a worried lot. They fear more hurdles on their way.
Brajesh Sharma, a resident of Antriksh Golf View 2 of Noida, says life has become a hell for almost two months now. His daily commute to BHEL office in Asiad from Sector 78 Noida is a nightmare.
Before the blockade, travelling from Lajpat Nagar to the Delhi Noida Direct (DND) Flyway was a matter of just 20 minutes. But now it takes almost two hours to cover the stretch, that too, excluding the time spent on the DND.
Meanwhile, the Shaheen Bagh protest on February 6 entered 53rd day. The protesters stayed put denying that there was any restriction on school buses and ambulances. However, the entire area is sealed out by police with barricades from all sides.
What is bothersome for the commuters is not driving the extra mile, but getting stuck in a long traffic jam, first at Lajpat Nagar, then Maharani Bagh and even on the six-lane highway that connects Delhi to Noida.
Sumil Jalota, a resident of Greater Noida west says, “My colleagues, who commute to Noida from Delhi, have to spend an extra hour to reach the office. Once the auto expo starts, it will be a hell for them.”
He asks why can’t the protestors move to Jantar Mantar. Why hold the commuters hostage by blocking their lifeline?
While the twitter echoes similar views, many tweets went in favour of the protest reading rather than starting late, people should set off early to avoid traffic. A journalist who has to commute from Greater Noida to Delhi daily suggests that people should start using metro if they don’t want to get stuck in the traffic. “Why blame people for the inefficiency of the government,” he asks.
Conceding that protest is a fundamental right, Sushil Kumar Jain, a resident of Noida, pointed out that the ongoing protest had led to public harassment.
Speaking to CitySpidey, he said, “Commuters too have a right. It's high time the political establishment took up our case too and ended the demonstration at Shaheen Bagh.”
Many were heard questioning the role of the police saying they take had acted promptly to clear highways occupied by protestors farmers. Why isn’t the same thing happening with this sit-in protest? they ask.
It may be noted here that a petition was filed in the Supreme Court on Monday seeking an end to the blockade and restoration of smooth traffic flow on Delhi's Kalindi Kunj-Shaheen Bagh stretch. The petitioner also sought a direction to the Central government to lay down comprehensive guidelines restricting protests at public places. This is the third petition moved in the apex court against the Shaheen Bagh protest.
The petitioner cited inaccessibility to a prominent hospital near the protest site in support of his demand. "Thousands of patients are being denied access to a medical facility. This calls for immediate clearance of the public places from the protestors," said the petition.