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Rallies obstruct free flow of traffic

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Boon or bane: A rally being taken out in Tiruchi.
Boon or bane: A rally being taken out in Tiruchi.

Syed Muthahar Saqaf

Lack of a designated place for holding rallies is the main cause for traffic jams

TIRUCHI: The city has been witnessing rallies taken out by school and college students at regular intervals, including NCC cadets, to create awareness among the people of various social issues. Of late, many educational institutions organise campaigns to create awareness of swine flu across the district.

Though all sections of the society have welcomed these campaigns, there has been criticism in some quarters on the traffic snarls such rallies create at thoroughfares causing hardship and anxiety to local people. “Such campaigns are a welcome feature, but the police and organisers should see to it that they do not hamper the smooth flow of traffic,” say people.

Apart from the NCC, the NSS, Junior Red Cross, Students Exnora, Scouts units functioning in schools and colleges organise rallies to popularise various concepts like eye, blood and organs donation; to warn the mass against child labour menace and global warming; underline the scope and importance for increasing forest cover; stress cent percent enrolment in educational institutions etc.

Rallies are also taken out in connection with the national integration day and other national celebrations.

Considering the narrow roads and the heavy flow of traffic on these roads due to the location of Tiruchi in the heart of the state, these rallies, though comprising a limited number of students, pose a challenge when it comes to regulating traffic. “No doubt these rallies obstruct free flow of traffic and the traffic police are put to hardship,” says a car driver.

The location of a cluster of educational institutions close to narrow roads and thoroughfares is a major hurdle for regulating rallies. These narrow thoroughfares, even otherwise, could not cope up with the rising volume of vehicular traffic. Any rally is bound to hinder free flow.

A specific case in point is the rally taken out by a few hundred students of a local college to highlight the ill-effects of global warming. The rally commenced from Chathiram bus stand, and meandered through Main Guard Gate, West Boulevard Road and took a ‘U’ turn at Marakkadai junction to pass through the Tennur over-bridge, Madurai Road, before reaching back to the institution. No doubt the rally attracted the attention of a large number of road users, bus passengers and pedestrians. But at the same time it definitely created traffic snarls on the ever busy West Boulevard Road, on the narrow over-bridge and the Madurai Road.

The absence of alternate roads and parallel roads for diverting the traffic is a major bottleneck for the city police. Lack of a designated place for holding rallies is the main cause of traffic jams.

Khaleel, a businessman of Palakkarai, is of the view that instead of such rallies, the organisers could organise awareness programmes in the campus of colleges and schools and the students, in turn, would take the message to their parents, friends and neighbours. Instead of rallies, pamphlets could be distributed at important junctions, which, in no way will affect the flow of traffic.

However, A. Mano Chithra, II year B. Sc (Electronics) student of Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, says holding programmes within the campus will not bring desired results. Only rallies will take the message to all sections of the society. But for such rallies, the seriousness of swine flu would not have reached the masses, Ms. Mano Chitra adds.

B. S. Mohan, a social activist and R. D. Hari, an employee of a private cab service, too echoed the same views. These rallies are always small in size as only a few hundred students participate and never take much time to cross a point. Hence it will not lead to serious traffic snarls, they say.

The involvement of students in such activities will go a long way in motivating them for playing a major role in the social issues in future, Mr. Mohan says. However he was quick to add that the strength of the students in the rallies passing through main and narrow thoroughfares could be restricted so that they did not lead to traffic snarls.

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