Traffic was blocked for at least one hour, forcing passengers to start walking to the airport along the highway, visuals show.

Screenshot from the video where a woman and few others are dragging their suitcases on the road
news Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 18:47

Dragging their suitcases down NAD junction road in Visakhapatnam, a video shows several people, including children, walking towards the airport about three kilometres away, as bumper-to-bumper traffic remains at a standstill on the opposite side of the highway. It was on Wednesday, February 9 that this scene unfolded, leaving scores of Vizag residents and passengers frustrated as they tried desperately to catch their flights. Why this commotion? Because Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy was in town. 

The Chief Minister was in town to visit the Saradha Peetham temple in Chinnamushidiwada, where he offered special prayers to Raja Syamala Devi for the annual festival at the temple on Wednesday. But as a result of his arrival, the Visakhapatnam police had made elaborate arrangements to ensure a smooth ride for the CM, including closing shops, sanitising roads and blocking routes, which ultimately caused a massive build-up of vehicular traffic on the way to the airport. 

The frustrations of passengers was clear, many sick and tired of the blatant disregard for their time and schedules. In one video, a woman expressed her agitation with the police’s action. She questioned if they would refund the ticket price if they were to miss the flight. “How can you stop us? My daughter who is waiting for me is worried about me. Old people are forced to wait. This is horrible. Don’t we have work to do? Is there any rationale to stop us?” the woman is heard saying.

A man who identifies himself as a member of the BJP party also faced the brunt of this jam. “I have a flight to catch. The traffic has been stalled for half an hour. The traffic has piled up for nearly two kilometers. Children and elderly are facing so much inconvenience. People have to go to hospitals. This has become a regular problem.”

He noted, “It makes sense to stall the traffic if the CM was just five minutes away, but they have closed the road for half an hour.” 

On Wednesday, the Chief Minister came to Visakhapatnam at 11.45 am in a special flight to offer his prayers at Saradha Peetham. He was accompanied by Endowments Minister Vellampalli Srinivas Rao. As per his schedule, he was to leave for his office in Tadepalli by 1.25 pm. The police had also conducted a trial run on the route. 

Meanwhile, after learning about the inconvenience caused to the general public, the Chief Minister on Thursday expressed his anger at police officials and asked the Director General of Police to initiate an inquiry into it. The CM further instructed authorities to ensure that such an incident does not occur again.  

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