Toll collection process causes traffic jams hindering smooth passage of VVIP convoys
The massive traffic jams witnessed on National Highway-7, the road to Bengaluru International Airport (BIA), on Monday due to toll collection at the new toll plaza has raised concerns about the security of VVIPs.
VVIP movement on the BIA road is a regular affair and traffic is often regulated to ensure smooth passage of the VVIP convoys. But the manner in which vehicles were stranded due to the toll collection process on Monday has apparently caused a new headache for the police.
Ensuring free passage of VVIP vehicles would be difficult if traffic jams become a regular feature on the busy highway, once the toll collection resumes, a senior police official told The Hindu.
The security of the VVIPs would be at risk if their vehicles get stranded in the traffic jams. Some alternative has to be worked out to overcome the new problem, the official said. For instance, the police struggled to arrange a free passage for the convoy of Minister for Home and Transport R. Ashok, who visited the toll plaza en route to Puttaparthi on Monday. The toll collection staff took nearly three minutes to clear one vehicle and, there were at least 30 vehicles (cars, buses and trucks) in the queue at any given time in each of the five toll lanes.
Bangalore's Deputy Commissioner of Police (North-East) B.R. Ravikanthe Gowda said: “We can keep one lane free for movement of VVIP vehicles. But this would increase the burden on other lanes and lead to further traffic pileups.” On the other, since the BIA was opened for commercial operations in May 2008, the Bangalore City Police have put in place several measures and prevented traffic jams on this road. But the very purpose with which these measures were implemented would be defeated if toll collection process leads to traffic jams.
Inconvenience to public
Mr. Gowda said that setting up of the toll plaza and collecting the toll was legally correct. But one has to take into account the inconvenience it was causing to the public.
According to sources in the airport, because of traffic jams, taxis could not move out of the airport on Monday morning and this led to an unusual congestion at the terminal. There were also reports of some passengers missing their flights as they could not check-in on time as they were caught in the traffic jam.