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LAHORE: The city was witness to another traffic mess on The Mall and its adjoining roads on Monday.

The reason was a protest by vice chairmen of municipal committees from various districts and alleged mismanagement on the part of traffic police by not providing an alternate route plan.

The stretch between Governor House and Civil Secretariat was affected the most and had a spillover effect on the adjoining lanes.

Traffic moved at a snail’s pace on major roads such as Jail Road, Davies Road, Canal Road, Ferozepur Road (from Ichhra to Mozang) and in the surroundings of Shadman Colony.

Traffic police authorities appeared unable to ensure smooth flow of vehicles following closure of the affected section of The Mall to facilitate the protesters as well as construction work of the Orange Line Metro Train.

Motorists alleged that traffic police blocked the major artery without announcing an alternate plan.

“I spent almost four hours in the surroundings of The Mall to reach its other side from Mozang,” Sajid Rafique, a trader, complained.

He said he left his office in Ichhra and reached Mozang in one hour. “Later, I tried to cross The Mall to reach Shahalam Market, but was unable to due to the traffic mess on all adjoining arteries,” he added.

The roads he tried included Safanwala Chowk, Lawrence Road, Fane Road, Temple Road, Turner Road, Farid Court Road and Lytton Road. He claimed he could not see a single warden on these small arteries.

Fahad Ali, a lawyer, said he was scheduled to appear in a banking court but could not reach there even in two hours by car from his Begum Road office. Normally he reached the court in 15 minutes during peak traffic hours, he added. He said routine life and business, particularly in the surroundings of Lahore High Court, remained at a standstill due to the traffic congestion.

Traders also lashed out at the authorities for failing to manage traffic, saying that turnout of customers for them remained very low on Monday.

All three entrances to Sir Ganga Ram Hospital also remained inaccessible to patients as many of them spent long hours on roads to reach the medical facility.

The situation was almost the same on other major roads and wardens were seen telling motorists, willing to reach The Mall, to turn back.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2018