Thursday, March 13, 2014

Chaos at Churchgate: Bags, shoes, watches lost; metal detectors fall


 

No Traffic NOC, Rly Cops Not Told Of Trip, Code Of Conduct ‘Flouted’

Nitasha Natu TNN


Mumbai: AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal’s visit to the city on Wednesday caused pandemonium at both Andheri station where he boarded an 11.26am local and Churchgate where he got off at 12.15pm. The Kejriwal cavalcade, though, did not cause congestion on the road after exiting the airport in 30-40 autos earlier in the day, thanks to a tight traffic police bandobast. 

    The state government said it will check whether the chaos at Churchgate and possibly other parts of the city caused damage to public property. It might even recover damages from AAP, if it is found guilty.
 
    In the evening, Kiran Dighavkar, M (East) Ward officer of Govandi, alleged that AAP violated the election code of conduct by conducting a road show on Ghatkopar-Mankhurd Link Road without seeking permission from either the BMC or the traffic department. Dighavkar had also refused an NOC. “We will submit our video recordings and a report to the collector who, in turn, will submit it to the election commission to initiate further action,” he said.
 
    Some of the violations reported by the BMC include use of nine vehicles (four-wheelers instead of three), announcements on loudspeakers and distribution of caps and flags. The BMC will submit the report to Deonar and Mankhurd police station on Thursday.
 
    Meanwhile, the traffic department said the party had not taken traffic NOC for their road shows, which is a must in addition to route permission, given by local police stations. GRP officials, too, said AAP had not even intimated them about Kejriwal’s train journey. RPF also learnt about the trip from its own intelligence.
 
    Traffic police took action against three auto drivers for ferrying AAP workers in more numbers than permitted to Andheri; one of whom ferried Kejriwal himself. AAP supporters said they had no choice due to lack of transport options near the airport.
    “Under Section 177 of the Motor Vehicles Act, action is taken against the person driving the vehicle; in this case, the auto driver. The capacity of an auto is one driver plus three passengers, which has been flo
uted,” said Kaiser Khalid, additional police commissioner, traffic. The drivers were booked and summons were sent to them to appear before court. Drivers were identified by traffic personnel on bandobast duty, and footage from CCTVs mounted at junctions was checked. “The deputy commissioner, traffic (suburbs) will look into the matter,” said Khalid.
 
    Meanwhile, women commuters had a harrowing time in a near stampede at Andheri and Churchgate.   A female media photographer fell at Andheri and would have slipped into the gap had a commuter not pulled her away in time.
    
At Churchgate, several commuters misplaced their footwear, spectacles, watches and bags. Two door-frame metal detectors also collapsed, but railway security agencies did not press charges against AAP. A senior police official said permission for Kejriwal’s rally was given for August Karanti Maidan and some areas.
 
(With inputs from Linah Baliga, Chittaranjan Tembhekar, Mateen Hafeez and Anahita Mukherji) 
 

 CITY INTERRUPTED DURING RUSH HOUR

WHEN THE PARTY LANDED AT RAILWAY STATIONS
    
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and his supporter’s entry at Andheri station, where he boarded a 11.26am slow local for Churchate, attracted a crowd of at least 700 Mumbaikars. At Churchgate, around a 1,000 people turned up 

    GRP deployed 300 personnel, 10 inspectors, striking and commando forces, besides asst commissioner and deputy commissioner
 
    Women commuters had a harrowing time during a near stampede at Andheri and then Churchgate. Commuters misplaced their footwear, spectacles, watches and bags
 
    Two metal detectors collapsed at Churchgate as many people tried to pass through them
 
    WR spokesperson said these were immediately erected as they were functional. Railway security agencies did not press charges
 
    Local services were not hit
 
    “I have met the station manager at Churchgate and asked him to send us a formal report of the incident. Prima facie, it seems the metal detectors collapsed due to overcrowding, not intentionally,” said DCP Deepak Devraj, GRP, WR  
 

THE RIDE FROM AIRPORT TO ANDHERI

Kejriwal’s cavalcade of 50-100 party workers landed in the city. They boarded autos
Traffic police booked three auto drivers for ferrying passengers in more numbers than is permitted

    Autos are licenced to carry only three passengers besides one driver
    Auto drivers were charged under Section 177 of Motor Vehicles Act. Summons were sent to them to appear before court
    One of the three drivers had ferried Arvind Kejriwal himself

 
STATE RESPONSE
    
State government will check whether the chaos at Churchgate station and in other areas in the city led to any damage to public property
    The state might even recover the damages from AAP, if it is found guilty

 
SOME PARTY PLANS THAT WERE SHELVED
    
1.45pm meeting with mediapersons at the Mumbai Press Club stood cancelled
    Rally at August Kranti Maidan was also cancelled



In the mayhem at Churchgate station, two metal detectors collapsed as too many people tried passing through them



The Times of India, March 13, 2014

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