A day after Newsline highlighted the difficulties being faced by common travellers at the Chandigarh railway station, the Haryana railway police on Wednesday decided to allow vehicles carrying senior citizens and differently abled people in the main lane which has been reserved for VIPs.
“We wanted to give some time to people to understand and get accustomed to the experiment. But, we also do not want to cause any harassment, so we have decided to allow senior citizens and differently abled people on that road, and also the VIPs, which is the last category,” said Shrikant Jadhav, IG of the railway police, after a visit to the station.
The police order to reserve the main lane for VIPs to provide them an easy and secure access to the station, leaving only a narrow lane for all others, leads to traffic logjams at rush hours, which holds up people who are in a hurry to catch trains.
Jadhav’s statement came soon after Director General of Police Yashpal Singhal said that he would discuss the issue with the IGP and the police would review the order.
“We are not rigid in enforcing any particular order if it leads to harassment and discomfort to the common man. Our aim is to ensure a smooth ride for everybody. The arrangement of having separate lanes at the railway station is not meant to cause any harassment to the common people,” said the DGP.
While relaxing the restriction for senior citizens and disabled, the IGP, however, offered no relief for other passengers who have to get off their vehicles caught in the jam and trudge to the station with their luggage.
Naturally, the people have not liked it. “The website of the Haryana police assures ‘Safety, Security and Co-operation’ for all, but it is promoting the VIP culture,” said A K Anand, a resident Jadhav denied that the lane was meant for VIPs at all.
“It was a mistake on the part of the SHO to call it the “VIP lane” and put up a board, it was just meant to de-congest the place and prevent people from parking anywhere on it. It is not a VIP lane, the idea was just to reduce the number of vehicles on it for security purpose,” said Jadhav.
He said that the police would continue the experiment for at least a month, and review the situation on a weekly basis, especially during weekends. “If we find that people do not adapt to the experiment, and it is a hassle, then we will definitely review it. But, as for now, we want to give the people some time to understand, and get accustomed to it. It is being done for security,” he added.
Jadhav admitted that the lane meant for the general public was narrow and also had some trees in the middle, which blocked free flow of traffic. He said he would write to the railway authorities, and discuss if it was possible to widen the road.
Kamlesh Verma, a resident of Sector 35 who had come to the station to see off her daughter, said that the police should deploy sufficient manpower to regulate traffic, instead of demarcating the main lane for VIPs. “They should challan people who create obstruction by parking haphazardly, rather than closing one lane to the public,” she said.