The Government is yet to comply with

a High Court order passed in 2005, writes

K.V. Subramanya

THE TRAFFIC jams witnessed in central parts of the city on July 11 following a huge procession by employees of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd.(BSNL) has highlighted the need for strictly enforcing the Karnataka High Court orders banning such rallies.

The High Court directed the State Government in July 2005 to provide land outside the city for holding rallies. The court observed that processions taken out by political parties and organisations should not pass through the streets in the city. It also ruled that the organisers of the rallies should give a week’s notice to the Government.

Though two years have passed, the Government has not complied with the High Court order. Hapless Bangloreans have been forced to bear with the hardships caused by huge gatherings and processions as it happened during the BSNL employees’ rally.

Stranded ambulances

During rallies and processions vehicular movement gets severely affected, causing inconvenience to the public. There have even been instances of ambulances getting stranded for hours because of traffic jams.

Most of the processions originate from either Chikkalalbagh or Banappa Park, and pass through the busy Mysore Bank Circle, Kempe Gowda Road, Anand Rao Circle, Hudson Circle, K.R. Circle, GPO Circle and Gopala Gowda Circle.

Jams in these busy areas often affect the traffic in the surrounding areas such as J.C. Road, Seshadri Road, Palace Road, Kengal Hanumanthaiya Road, Raja Ram Mohun Roy Road, Lalbagh Road, Kasturba Road, Mahatma Gandhi Road, St. Marks’ Road, Residency Road, Sankey Road, T. Chowdaiah Road and Cunningham Road.

Formidable numbers

According to the traffic police, around one lakh vehicles pass through Hudson Circle every hour daily during peak time. One can imagine the situation if traffic at this busy junction is blocked for hours, as it has happens during rallies.

While the public wants the police to take steps to divert vehicular movement and clear traffic snarls during processions, senior police officials say such diversions are not always possible.

There are no parallel roads in the busy areas where we can allow the processions on one road and divert the vehicles to the other. Most of the roads are already carrying traffic more than their capacity, a traffic police official explains.

Secondly, diversion of vehicles during rallies is difficult as none of the processions starts on time. Processions are normally taken out two or three hours beyond schedule.

The official suggests that it should be made mandatory that those organising processions serve a notice at least 10 days in advance to the police so that they can work out some measures to prevent traffic jams.

The organisers should also be made to provide the route map and timings of the procession and strictly adhere to them. Stringent punishment should be awarded to those who violate them, he suggests.