In the bustling city of Nagpur, the epicenter of recent protests at RBI Square witnessed a massive gathering of Gond-Gowaris on Monday. The aftermath revealed a critical issue – the square’s inadequacy to accommodate and manage the sheer volume of rallyists, leading to chaos and a 10-hour-long traffic gridlock. Roads around the square were blocked, spilling over to adjacent areas, bringing the city to a standstill.
Rallyist Overflow at Samvidhan Square (RBI Square) Raises Concerns
A subsequent investigation by a TOI team shed light on the limitations of the morcha point at Samvidhan Square. Surprisingly, it could hardly host 2,500 people, prompting questions about the city’s preparedness for large-scale protests. A senior traffic police officer expressed concern, stating that any larger gathering could cripple adjoining national highways, a situation witnessed during the Monday protests.
Traffic Woes: A City Paralyzed
RBI Square, located near Zero Mile, a crucial junction connecting National Highways 6 and 7, and the starting point of National Highway 49, proved vulnerable to the overwhelming turnout. The narrow morcha point on the high-traffic national highway between Wardha Road and Kamptee town exacerbated the problem. Motorists diverted to arterial roads, causing mayhem as existing infrastructure struggled to handle the increased traffic.
Calls for Change: Shifting Morcha Points for Public Welfare
Prominent figures in the community, such as Ashok Karandikar and Ravi Kaskhedikar from the NGO Jankrosh, advocated for a shift in morcha points. Suggesting locations like Kasturchand Park for future gatherings, they drew parallels with Mumbai’s Azad Maidan. The call for change resonated with Tejinder Singh Renu from Vidarbha Taxpayers’ Association, emphasizing the need for stricter laws to prevent such disruptions.
Urgent Reassessment: A Plea for Public Safety
In the wake of Monday’s traffic chaos, Dinesh Naidu from Parivartan-The Citizens Forum urged authorities to reconsider permissions for events in high-impact areas. The corridor from Variety Square to RBI Square, a vital arterial road and a crucial section of the national highway, should be off-limits for protests, according to Naidu. This, he argued, would ensure the smooth flow of vehicles, protecting citizens’ daily interests and maintaining the city’s transportation efficiency.
A City at Crossroads: Balancing the Right to Protest and Public Well-being
As Nagpur grapples with the aftermath of the protest, the city finds itself at a crossroads. Balancing the right to protest with the well-being of its citizens requires a careful reassessment of morcha points and a collaborative effort between authorities and activists. The urgent need for comprehensive measures to prevent future disruptions becomes evident in the aftermath of Monday’s unprecedented traffic jam.
In summary, the incident at RBI Square serves as a stark reminder of the delicate equilibrium between civic rights and public safety, prompting a city-wide dialogue on the future of protests and the imperative to safeguard the daily lives of its residents.