Unlike during Deepavali, the Chennai Moffusil Bus Terminus (CMBT) and surrounding areas may not face as many traffic snarls this festive season caused by the special bus services introduced by the government for Pongal.

For Deepavali the government had announced 1,000 additional buses to tackle the rush. But due to this traffic movement was affected for two days. This year, the Chief Minister has announced 5,612 buses for between January 11 and 13.

“This time such problems will not occur as a road near the Koyambedu police station has been cleared for the buses to move,” said a senior official of the transport department.

T.K. Pandian, a commuter who was caught in a traffic snarl caused by the special bus service during Deepavali, said that he had to get down from the bus at Maduravoyal-Poonamallee High Road Junction at 6.50 p.m. on November 9. “I had to walk for 10 km from Maduravoyal to Anna Nagar. There is no proper footpath on the Poonamallee high road and it was very risky,” he said.

Many other commuters had to walk the distance carrying children and luggage. Commuters like him hope that the traffic police and transport officials are prepared to handle the situation in case there is a traffic snarl.

In order to avoid congestion of buses, traffic police officers said that buses to Chennai would be diverted at Perungalathur towards Maduravoyal, F-Road and to CMBT. “The CMBT can accommodate 300 buses at a time. It will become chaotic if more buses gain entry simultaneously. Hence we will have a police team in Maduravoyal and allow the buses in batches to avoid snarls,” said the officer.

Meanwhile, senior transport officials said that Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had also announced that the public could lodge complaints on exorbitant fares charged by private bus operators. They can call the Tamil Nadu Express Transport Corporation office at Koyambedu on 24794709. “We nabbed 20 bus operators who were found guilty of over-charging during Deepavali. Their permits were cancelled. This time too surprise checks will be conducted. Transport officials are already monitoring the sale of tickets,” said an official.

The Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) Limited will operate 250 special buses between January 14 and 16 from Chennai to tourist locations such as Trade Fair at Island Grounds, Gandhi Mandapam, Anna Squae, Mahabalipuram among other places.

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