Monday, February 28, 2011

Few surprises for Maya, but some for citizens

Feb 28, 2011, LUCKNOW:

Sham-e-Awadh came with plenty of chaos for a large number of Lucknowites as an overzealous administration imposed an undeclared curfew in areas chief minister Mayawadi visited on Sunday.

So, the weekend afternoon hustle and bustle of Hazratganj and Gomtinagar markets gave way to eerie silence as cops frantically put brakes on traffic movement and pulled pedestrians even off pavements. Some even got vacated the windows and balconies of the apartments facing the road the CM was supposed to take. Stray canines and bovines too didn\'t have much luck, as they were shooed away into the narrow bylanes -- all in the name of the CM\'s security.

Police maintained that this was necessary keeping in mind the threat perception to the CM, who was out on an inspection of the state capital, but common people who had to bear the chaos for over two hours saw it as an over-enthusiastic effort of some loyalists in the bureaucracy, who are desperate to prove that they are more loyal than the king.

While nobody had anything against the visit of the CM, who was making an effort to get a first-hand account of the peoblems in general, the way local police and general administation handled spilld in form of choas on roads. Similar scenes were witnessed in Noida last Sunday, when the CM had landed in the NCR region.

\"Restrictions on movement of traffic is understandable, but why get the pavements vacated,\" was the question put up by a visibly perplexed senior citizen, caught in the melee in Hazratganj. \"Yahan toh Indira Gandhi se lekar Rajiv, Sonia, Rahul, Priyanka aur Atal Bihari tak aa chuke hain...lekin aisi security to kabhi nahi dekhi,\" quipped Renuka, a 40-plus office-goer, who was on an outing with her kids.

The situation was worse for the occupants of multi-storey apartments and residential blocks on the route -- especially in Gomtinagar and Park Road areas. While the main colony gates were closed by the police to ensure zero entry and exit, some policemen even ordered unsuspecting residents not to peeping from their apartment windows and balconies.

The sound of hooters and police sirens, apparently escorting the CM\'s motorcade at a distance, did come as a much-awaited relief for those stranded by the roadside for almost an hour by then. But the relief was short-lived. When they tried to take to the road, once the CM\'s motorcade had passed, they were stopped again. \"Abhi naheen jaana hai...Madam kisi samay bhi wapas aa sakti hain (No one is to move. The motorcade could be back any moment)\'\', said a cop on duty, as the CM\'s fleet sped towards Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital in Gomtinagar. It was after another half-an-hour before the CM returned on the route. The traffic was allowed to hit the road only after another 15 minutes of her passing from the route.


While incharge of the Hazratganj police station Inspector KN Misra said it was a security requirement, the district police chief deputy inspector general (DIG) DK Thakur said there was no such restriction in general. \"If this has happened, it must have been an exception,\" he said.

District magistrate (DM) Anil Sagar, who was seen practically runnig to catch up with the CM where ever she stopped, said no one was being asked to keep off the pavement. \"I myself was standing on the footpath when the CM was in Hazratganj,\" Sagar said.

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