Chandigarh: It was a day when 192 schools in the city were shut despite being the crucial examination time, a Kargil war veteran could not cremate his son at the Sector 25 cremation ground as it was literally out of bounds for the common man, patients had a harrowing time at the PGI, the functioning of the District Courts was affected and commuters bore the brunt of traffic snarls, especially in the southern parts of the city, courtesy Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the city.
City residents went through a four-hour-long trauma as top functionaries of the Chandigarh Administration went overboard to ensure that nothing went wrong during the political rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Sector 25 today.
Witness to several visits by Prime Ministers in the past, city residents said the measures taken by the local authorities this time were unprecedented, leaving them in the lurch.
The decision of the Administration to convert the parking lot at the Sector cremation ground into parking space for the public rally has come in for severe criticism from all quarters. Fearing that they would get stuck in traffic jams due to “security overdrive” by the Administration, many residents preferred to remain indoors.
All commercial establishments on Dakshin Marg and Madhya Marg, the two routes identified for the movement of the Prime Minister’s convoy, were shut down as a security measure. “It was a curfew-like situation. Prime Ministers have come to the city earlier also. What is so special this time? Responsibility should be fixed,” said a resident on condition of anonymity.
The “momentous moment” of the Prime Minister, who was in the city for the inauguration of the international terminal at the airport, the convocation at the PGI and a public rally in Sector 25, became a cause of embarrassment for UT functionaries as soon after leaving the venue, Modi ordered an inquiry to fix responsibility for the inconvenience caused to the city residents and remarked that shutting schools was totally avoidable.
Traffic in southern parts of the city and near the PGI virtually came to a standstill during Modi’s visit to Chandigarh on Friday, leaving commuters at the receiving end. Serpentine queues of vehicles were seen on roads leading to Dakshin Marg.
Closure of schools hits 27,000 students
The Administration declared a holiday in 192 city schools in the city, ignoring the fact that it would affect the studies of around 27,000 students. Parents, heads of educational institutes and staff condemned the decision saying that while Modi had invited schoolchildren for the convocation to inspire them to study for achieving something in life, the authorities had shut down schools.