Increased vehicular traffic, changes in traffic pattern force decision

Soon, the North Masi Street-West Masi Street junction and the South Masi Street-West Masi Street junction in Madurai might become out of bounds for political parties and civic organisations which intend to hold public meetings and protests.

These two places are among the popular venues in the city where the State and national leaders of political parties have addressed the public for long. However, owing to the increased vehicular traffic and changes in the traffic pattern, the city police have proposed to take these places off the list of venues permitted for meetings and demonstrations.

The reason for banning public meetings on the two junctions is that the police had recently introduced one-way traffic on the four Masi Streets. “Peak hour traffic on the Masi Streets, the main thoroughfare around the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, will be thrown out of gear if the present pattern of traffic continues and we allow public meetings on these roads,” a police officer said.

The inconvenience faced by motorists on these streets during a recent meeting organised by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on the South Masi-West Masi Street junction is a telltale example, the officer added. Not only on the day of meeting, traffic had to be blocked even the previous day to enable workers erect the stage, he added.

The police also feel that overcrowding should be avoided in the vicinity of the Meenakshi temple in view of the increased threat perception.

The city police on Saturday called a meeting of the representatives of political parties to take a decision on the issue. Other venues where public meetings and protests would be banned are K.Pudur bus stand, Goripalayam Mosque Street and Chinna Kadai Street.

Instead the police have proposed two new meeting venues — near ‘Uzhavar Sandhai’ and Yanaikuzhai Street at Anna Nagar.

Public meetings addressed by VIP leaders could be conducted at the Tamukkam Ground and Obulapadithurai. The police have also suggested two private grounds on the Travellers’ Bungalow Road and at Moondrumavadi for holding meetings, provided the custodians of the grounds give their consent.

Political parties have been given three days’ time to respond to the suggestions made by the police.

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