While a Guinness record was being attempted in Navi Mumbai, the average commuter was facing the repercussions.
Traffic on all roads leading to and within Navi Mumbai, especially on the Sion-Panvel Highway, was thrown out of gear, as hordes of people from Navi Mumbai, Mumbai, Thane and Pune flocked to Dr DY Patil Stadium in Nerul to set a new world record for having the largest health awareness lesson (camp) at a single venue.
Over 2 lakh people participated in the event. While the record was created and certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, commuters other than those heading to the stadium vented out their frustration.
Sidney D’souza, who travels from his residence in Santacruz to Belapur, had to walk for an hour to reach his office after alighting at Belapur railway station. “There was utter chaos on Palm Beach Road, so taking an auto was out of the question,” D’souza said. Students travelling from and to their respective schools and colleges were also inconvenienced greatly. Kartik Despande said, “It normally takes 15 minutes at the most to reach Vashi from Nerul. But on Friday, it took me 90 minutes. I initially boarded a bus for Vashi, but later had to get off, as it got stuck in a traffic jam. It took me 25 minutes to reach Juinagar railway station. From here I boarded a train for Vashi.”
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic) in Navi Mumbai Vijay Patil said additional staff was deployed all over the city, considering the number of traffic jams, especially on the Sion-Panvel highway and Palm Beach Road. “The crowd was large and so was the vehicular traffic. There was no proper coordination and at the last minute we were required to depute over 100 additional officials. We had to divert a few of the vehicles to reduce bumper-to-bumper traffic. Therefore, smaller vehicles and buses were rerouted from Palm Beach Road,” he said.
The other side
Rupesh Pandit, spokesperson for the mega health camp, said, “We had assigned volunteers to take care of traffic, but it appears that the event got an overwhelming response. Besides, today being a weekday, the roads had their routine traffic. The camp consisted of people who were coming at certain intervals and not those who would stay at the stadium, hence there was traffic throughout the day.”