Mess at toll gates clogs expressway

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GURGAON: Chaos prevailed close to midnight on Thursday with the toll plaza authorities failing to clearly demarcate and cordon off the entry into the VVIP lane from the Delhi approach to the transit gates.

As motorists approaching the toll plaza from Delhi followed the flow of the traffic into the VVIP lane, they were suddenly confronted with persons with talking sets, who placed plastic barriers just ahead of the toll booths.

This brought traffic to a halt as commuters tried to reason with the persons manning the plastic barriers that vehicles should be prevented from entering the VVIP lane at the start, not when they were just at the toll booths.

Unwilling to heed the arguments offered, the ‘staff’ said they were under instructions not to let any vehicle pass and dared commuters to summon the police when some of those stuck in the mess said the law-and-order authorities should be called.

While tempers ran high between 11.30 pm and midnight, as the traffic pile-up steadily built up, commuters inured to daily jams began to protest the arbitrary action of placing barriers at the toll booths. After some time, the staff had to back off given the volume of traffic and sheer impracticability of what they were trying to do.

A motorist, Amit Kapoor, said, “There was huge pile-up. I had followed the cars ahead of me. After driving bumper-to-bumper for 20 minutes, I saw someone shooing the traffic to another lane.” The commuters were told the exit was reserved for VVIP movement.

The midnight nightmare was resolved when the police intervened. When contacted, a DGSCL spokesperson said : “To help facilitate the passage of the delegates of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) through the toll plaza, we have dedicated one lane on the Delhi to Gurgaon side and one lane on the Gurgaon to Delhi side for the delegate vehicles.” He also said the VVIP exits had been earmarked on the extreme right lanes and signboards have been put up to mark these as dedicated lanes. “These lanes will be dedicated for ASEM delegates till the 12th and traffic marshals as well as police have been stationed at the entry to the lanes.”

Due to huge pile-up the traffic coming from Delhi had moved at snail pace and there were no-fixed rows to reach the different exit points. In normal course, the moving traffic joins the queues ahead of the toll counters. The absence of clear markings of VVIP exit point added to the chaos.

In hurry to clear the toll the car owners kept moving ahead and majority of them inadvertently turned to the exit point on the extreme right side of the toll passage, which had been earmarked for the VVIP exit. When the commuters were told by marshals to move towards the adjoining normal exit it resulted in even bigger chaos. The confusion could have been avoided if the marshals had not allowed traffic to queue towards the restricted exit of VVIP.


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