It was a harrowing morning for Delhiites today as the shutdown against the fuel price hike hit vehicular movement in many parts of the national capital. Fewer autos and packed metro trains added to the woes of commuters.
"Autos are not plying and buses are anyway known for their low frequency. The only option for commuters is Metro train which is jam-packed today," Sudisha Bhola, a textile engineer, said.
"At the Rajiv Chowk Metro station, there was a near-stampede like situation. The Metro was also running slow," Bhola, commuting to Gurgaon from Rajiv Chowk, added.
Several auto-rickshaw unions are joining the shutdown. Nearly 55,000 autos and 15,000 taxis are expected to stay off the road throughout the day. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders threatened to block about 100 intersections in the city as part of the bid to force the shutdown.
BJP workers blocked roads in Delhi's Akshardham, Laxmi Nagar, Janakpuri and Mayapuri areas to enforce the shutdown. They raised slogans against the central government and stopped vehicles plying on roads.
"The very fact that this shutdown is being followed on such a large scale all over India shows that the common man won't tolerate price hikes and is frustrated by the government's current scheme of things," said BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
"People are with the BJP and we will try our best to support the common man's initiative," Naqvi, protesting with party workers at the Akshardham flyover, added.
The Delhi Traffic Police sent text messages to people to "alert" them on the shutdown.
"BJP workers have blocked the road under Akshardham flyover. Kindly avoid this road," the traffic department said on its Facebook page.
Nearly 300 traders' associations in the city also said they would keep markets closed in support of the shutdown.