The extensive security arrangements for the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s election rally on the Sector 34 exhibition ground on Saturday could lead to major disruption of traffic in many parts of the city.
Officials said traffic restrictions would be in force on the Dakshin Marg, known as Ambala road; the road dividing sectors 33 and 34; the road running through the market of Sector 34; the road running across Sector 34 along the exhibition ground; and the road between sectors 34 and 44.
Although Modi is expected to arrive at the exhibition ground at 5.15 pm, police would “seal’’ Sector 34 at 3 pm, said officials. Only those coming to the rally will be allowed in. People entering residential areas of Sector 34 will have to show proof of identity. The restrictions will remain in force until 7 pm, or when Modi departs.
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SSP for Traffic and Security Maneesh Chaudhry said “it is advisable for the residents to avoid all roads in a two- square kilometre area around the ground for the duration of the rally”. “We will not be blocking any roads unnecessarily. But till the time Modi is on the ground, the three roads around the exhibition ground will be closed. From 3 pm, the police force will be deployed and the regulation of traffic will begin,’’ he added.
That means the road dividing sectors 33 and 34, the road running through the market of Sector 34, and the road running across Sector 34 along the exhibition ground will be closed.
Officials said Dakshin Marg and the road between sectors 34 and 44 would also be closed for short durations around Modi’s time of arrival and departure. Since Dakshin Marg is one of the busiest roads, linked with several arterial roads, its closure even for a short time could lead to traffic jams in several parts of the city.
For those coming to attend the rally, the police have made arrangements for parking of 1,000 cars and 2,000 two-wheelers on the exhibition ground along the Dakshin Marg. Arrangements for parking of 500 VIP vehicles have been made on the vacant ground across the rally venue. The space in front of the gurdwara will be available for parking to journalists and others.
A police officer said that the Indian Oil petrol pump on the exhibition ground would be closed, though the manager said he had no such instructions. Gagandeep Singh Khurrana of Sham Fashion Mall said they had not been asked to close the mall, “but the business will grossly suffer as the roads will be blocked”.
At the Sector 34 market, one of the shopkeepers said the police had advised them to close shops for Saturday.
Nearly 3,000 policemen and bomb disposal squads have been deployed. A team of Gujarat Police is co-ordinating with the Chandigarh Police. City SSP Sukhchain Singh Gill held a meeting on the exhibition ground on Friday. Organisers expect a crowd between 30,000 and 50,000.