Commuting became a roundabout affair for most people on Friday, when the ‘Chalo Assembly’ protests by Telangana activists had shut off the core of the city from all its approaches.
While the central parts wore a deserted look due to traffic restrictions imposed by the police, most motorists were seen arguing with the latter as they were being forcibly directed to different routes. With vital junction Nampally remaining closed, commuters faced problems getting from one place to the other even in areas where there was free movement of vehicles.
With buses via Nampally cancelled, commuters were seen returning from bus-shelters after long wait. Most, it seemed, were unaware of the shutdown. Buses from Dilsukhnagar and Hayatnagar, which were to ply via Nampally, were run only up to Koti.
“I was to take a boy from our hostel to Mehdipatnam today. After travelling up to Dilsukhnagar from Vanasthalipuram, we were forced to return all the way back,” lamented Gnanasri, caretaker of an orphanage.
On the other end of the city, buses were run only up to Punjagutta, forcing people to take a detour via Secunderabad, Tarnaka, and Uppal by changing buses.
“As I had to consult the doctor at the ESI hospital, I had taken leave. Now, I’ve lost my wages for the day, and I can’t go for the consultation either,” lamented Sulochana, a factory worker.
Meanwhile, long-distance travellers alighting at Nampally railway station had to walk long distances on the tracks, to get out of the cordoned region, before they could get transport home.
A. Srikanth of Malakpet found himself taking the longer route to work, with the usual Koti-Nampally-Assembly-Lakdikapul route to his Hitech City office cordoned off.
“I started for office almost an hour earlier than the usual. The blockade is so complete that shortcuts were impossible. Even by-lanes were cordoned off,” he said, adding that he had take the detour via Koti-RTC crossroads-Musheerabad-Secunderabad, to Hitech City. “The only upshot in the situation was that roads were relatively free,” he said.
By and large, the city’s roads had fewer vehicles than usual, as many chose to stay indoors fearing trouble. There were complaints that information on alternate routes was not comprehensive.
“We knew about traffic diversions, but there were no directions about alternate routes and not many police personnel were helpful,” P. Dhruva Kumar, a bank employee said.