With Shanghumughom being the venue of the public meeting organised to mark the conclusion of the 11th State conference of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) on Monday, people were spared from traffic chaos in the city, already reeling under congestion caused by road development works.

The DYFI activists took out a rally from near the old G.V. Raja School to the Shanghumughom beach and hence, vehicular traffic flowed uninterrupted in the city. The DYFI said that over one lakh activists participated.

Had the rally culminated in Putharikandam Maidan, the usual venue for such events, after passing through the arterial roads, traffic chaos would have affected life in the city, which does not have parallel corridors.

The public and this being the Sabarimala pilgrimage season, the Ayyappa devotees visiting the Sree Padmananabha Swamy temple, were thus spared from an ordeal.

“Though it was a working day, the city was exceptionally free in the evening and there were no traffic snarls on account of the rally. Organisations holding such rallies should try to hold them at Shanghumughom,” a traffic official said.

The office-goers, the students and other commuters did not have to wait endlessly at the bus stops. Taxis, autoricksaws and private vehicles plied. Those going to the airport from various places had the option of taking the Chakka-Eenchakkal-Valiyathura road.

The only difference

The only sign of a public rally in the city was the running of vehicles carrying the activists. These vehicles were allowed to park on the Veli-Madhavapuram road, the National Highway bypass and the football ground near the beach. The Shanghumughom venue came as a big relief to the short-staffed police traffic wing.

The National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) had long ago suggested identifying a square or a ground not too long from the city, either on the Chakka-Kovalam bypass stretch or at Shanghumughom, for rallies and dharnas.

NATPAC had made the suggestion to set up a protest square or ground on the lines of the Boat Club Maidan in New Delhi and such venues abroad. Nothing has come of the suggestion.

Many political parties and other organisations are not in favour of such a venue as they fear that their programmes will not get media and public attention.

A NATPAC study has estimated a loss of Rs.15.06 crores a year owing to processions and protest marches in the capital.