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Traffic thrown out of gear

By Our Kochi Bureau



The long queue of vehicles at Kaloor a few minutes after the India-Pakistan One-Day International cricket match concluded at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Vipinchandran

KOCHI, APRIL 2. Traffic on the city's arterial roads came to a standstill this evening, as over 80,000 spectators flowed out of the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium in Kaloor, after the first One-Day International cricket match in the ongoing series between India and Pakistan.

This is said to be the biggest turnout for an international match in the city. As the game ended and people started coming out, even two-wheeler riders were trapped in the traffic snarls. The inauguration of Somayagam at the Ernakulathappan Ground, the World Mayor's Meet at Taj Malabar and a host of weddings added to the number of vehicles on the roads. The weddings included that of film actor Kunchacko Boban, which was held at Little Flower Church, Elamkulam.

Goods carriers

Hundreds of goods carriers hit the roads today as shops and markets started functioning after a three-day agitation called by traders protesting against implementation of Value-Added Tax. The number of goods carriers was more along the NH bypass and on M.G. Road.

The Palarivattom-Kacheripady stretch was the worst-hit by traffic snarls in the evening.

Electronic traffic lights at many junctions were switched off and the traffic police took over the job of signalling motorists. This was because the number of vehicles going out of the city was much more than those coming towards it.

Many people had to walk from the stadium to the High Court where cars and bigger vehicles were parked. Shops and vendors selling snacks and juice recorded good sales.

The police were deployed in good strength at major junctions in the city to prevent traffic snarls. By around 7 p.m., the snarls began to unwind on the arterial roads. The rush of spectators to the stadium did not affect traffic flow in the morning as the stadium gates were opened at 4 a.m. This was to prevent a rush to the venue before the match started.

Festive mood

As the final ball was delivered and India's victory was confirmed, the roads were flooded with the Tricolour. Flags were seen fluttering on many two-wheelers.

There were many beaming faces painted with the three colours of the flag on the road. Some celebrated the victory by beating drums by the roadside.

There was not too much congestion in front of the stadium, as around 30 per cent of the vehicles that came to the match were diverted to the parking lot behind. Fortunately, there were no major accidents, said K.E. Joy, Assistant Commissioner (Traffic-East).

The ample number of signboards giving directives on parking to motorists helped a lot.

Cars were also parked diagonally along the 1.5 km-long road leading from the Palarivattom-Thammanam Road to the back side of the stadium. Heavy vehicles were not allowed on the main road during the beginning and final moments of the match, he said.

Train halt

The Ernakulam-Nizamuddin Express, Trivandrum-Mangalore Maveli Express, Trivandrum-Howrah Express and Bokaro Express stopped at the Ernakulam North railway station for the convenience of cricket enthusiasts who had come to the city from other districts.

These trains generally stop only at Ernakulam South station. The Ernakulam-Shornur passenger train (train number 650) ran with five additional coaches.

The Ernakulam-Kannur Express stopped at the station for an extra 10 minutes for the additional number of people bound for Malabar region.

An extra ticket counter was opened at the station for the same purpose, the Area Manager, Ernakulam, Mathew George, said.

Kerala State Road Transport Corporation sources said that there was a huge crowd at the main bus stand. Additional services could not be run because of the extra services that were plying to Malayattoor.

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