Traffic bottlenecks avoided due to advanced planning

Capacity crowd at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium for the One-Day International (ODI) match and crowd flowing out of Sabarimala after Makarajyoti darsan – it was a dreadful combination for any traffic police unit. But the city police traffic team under K. Padmakumar, Inspector General of Police, Kochi Range, managed to ensure smooth passage through the city for thousands of cricket fans from other districts and the day passed off without any major hiccups.

Starting with discussions and meetings a week prior to the D-day, the team charted out a detailed plan. “The focus area was on traffic. It was decided that all unauthorised parking along the road stretch between Banerjee Road and Palarivattom will be removed from Monday night onwards. Heavy vehicles were diverted to alternative routes planned and kept ready to ease out traffic hold ups. Nearly 300 personnel were posted at different points along the road and new signages were put up for those coming from outside the city,” Mr. Padmakumar, told The Hindu.

During the morning phase, the pilgrim traffic was strictly routed along the National Highway bypass.

Inside the stadium, public movement was allowed in one direction up to the road leading to IMA hall, which helped the unobstructed flow of cricket fans. Only the southern wing of the stadium, housing the dressing rooms of the players, was closed. Three dedicated wireless networks were established for the day — one for traffic, one for stadium and one for general law and order maintenance. A 2,000- strong police team was in place at the stadium for a final briefing at 7 a.m. and gates were opened for the crowd at 9 a.m. By 11.30 a.m. the entire crowd was in place, a full 30 minutes before the match got off. Unlike previous matches at the same venue, the police allowed spectators to bring in food and water. “From our experience, it was clear that we would not be able to provide water to crowds and that could create tension inside the stadium, ” Mr. Padmakumar said.

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