THE PROPOSED march by Jat agitators to Delhi on Monday set alarm bells ringing in Chandigarh on Sunday, with people travelling to Delhi taking precautionary measures, including avoiding the night journey to Delhi on the national highway.
The Haryana Roadways on Sunday also put up posters at ISBT in Sector 17 saying that bus services to Delhi could stop anytime due to the ongoing Jat agitation. Fearing for safety, several cab operators in the city stopped their services in the afternoon to Delhi.
The situation, however, returned to normal in the evening after the agitating Jat leaders called off their Monday protest plan.
“Because of Monday’s Jat march to Delhi, many people preferred to travel to Delhi in advance on Sunday. Travellers also avoided the journey due to tension,” said Manjit Singh, owner of Safe Tour And Travel who runs a daily cab service to Delhi.
Another city-based travel operator said that passengers fearing a 2016-like situation on Delhi-Chandigarh national highway, few passengers requested him to cancel their overnight travel booking from Chandigarh to Delhi.
A Haryana Roadways official said that they provided information through the posters to the public because they were expecting tension due to the Jat agitation. “Since it has been called off, services to Delhi would ply normally now,” he said.
Adding to the chaos was the closure of Chandigarh International Airport due to runway repair and only two Shatabdi trains plying to Delhi from the city on Sunday. People chose cabs and buses to reach the national capital.
On Sunday, flight operations at the Chandigarh International Airport remained shut due to the runway repair. The airport would also remain shut on April 2 and 16. On Sundays, the Railways don’t ply afternoon Shatabdi to Delhi and two Shatabdi train remains functional.
By Sunday afternoon, city-based travel operators said that there was also shortage of cabs in the city due to huge rush of passengers to Delhi. The shortage also triggered spike in fares.
“There was a huge demand of cabs in the market today. We sent around 20 additional cabs to Delhi on Sunday because demand was high,” said Rajesh Sharma, owner of Seva Tour and Travels in the city.
City residents blamed the authorities for putting the public to inconvenience. “It was in public domain that no flights are operating to Delhi today. People also faced inconvenience as only two Shatabdis were operational today,” said Vikram Singh, a Mohali resident, who travelled to Delhi in a Volvo bus from the city.