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Updated: January 14, 2012 10:51 IST

Lorries bring loads of trouble for motorists

L. Srikrishna
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Sugarcane loads arriving ahead
of the Pongal festival at Simmakal market in Madurai on Friday. Photo: S. James
The Hindu Sugarcane loads arriving ahead of the Pongal festival at Simmakal market in Madurai on Friday. Photo: S. James

In market areas, when vehicular movement is tough, parking of lorries and unloading cause traffic jam, writes L. Srikrishna

It is now the turn of sugarcane-laden lorries to create traffic bottleneck in the city's busy markets. With just a day left for Pongal celebrations, lorries from far and near are arriving at regular intervals and unloading the sugarcane for sale.

In a bid to give some breathing space, the traffic police are permitting lorries only during the night. From 11 p.m. to 8 a.m., the lorries are allowed to enter, unload the goods and leave the city limits by morning. This has been in force at Yanaikal, East Gate, East Veli, Thenkarai and other wholesale markets, traffic police officials said.

Since these lorries occupy huge space at Yanaikal, vehicle movement got choked on both ways. A few days ago, during peak hours, the traffic went for a toss near East Gate as lorry drivers, unmindful of the traffic jam, continued to off-load the goods in front of a wholesale shopkeeper's godown. Though the police, on information, imposed fine, the lorry left only after unloading, motorists in the locality claimed. When the issue was taken up with top officials, the police swung into action and instructed the shopkeepers and wholesale vendors about the entry timings.

According to some of the wholesale sugarcane merchants, the police could stop vehicles on both sides in the stretches and convert into a one-way, where the vendors had put up shops. Considering the Pongal festival and the large number of people thronging the shops, the traffic system could be reworked on a temporary basis, they suggested. With cost of sugarcane touching new high this season (a pair costs Rs. 60, while it was just Rs. 30 last year), the vendors felt that they had to pay double wages to workers since they were permitted to unload the consignment in the night.

However, the police dismissed the argument of the sugarcane merchants and said that the vendors should move away from the city from next season as the number of vehicles had increased manifold. Everyday, 500 new vehicles (of different types) hit the roads from the automobile showrooms while the roads remained the same. In many narrow stretches in the market areas, when movement of vehicles itself was tough, parking of lorries and unloading caused problems to other motorists, they added.

One week prior to Pongal, about 1,500 sugarcane-laden lorries would arrive from different towns. However, this time, due to the cyclone in Cuddalore, there have been a lot of changes in arrival schedule.

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