What lockdown? A massive traffic jam on the Western Express Highway

Updated: May 20, 2020, 08:25 IST | Ranjeet Jadhav | Mumbai

Authorities request Mumbaikars to stay indoors and not step out for non-essential reasons as traffic increases on Western Express Highway on Monday and Tuesday

Traffic piled up at the Samta Nagar check post. Pic/Satej Shinde
Traffic piled up at the Samta Nagar check post. Pic/Satej Shinde

A massive traffic jam on the Andheri-Goregaon stretch of the Western Express Highway on Tuesday morning brought back memories of the usual rush hour on Mumbai's roads even as it remained in the red zone of the nation's COVID-19 crisis. Though people ventured out in their vehicles despite police nakabandi at different points on the highway, cops said they would continue to take strict action against those violating norms.

Those living along the highway were shocked to see traffic on the stretch despite the lockdown being in place and tweeted some pictures and videos of the same. Some police officers were even spotted confiscating the keys of vehicles whose owners were not involved in providing essential services.

However, some believe that the traffic jam happened due to police nakabandi at different points on the highway where the vehicles were being stopped for checking. In the morning traffic was seen both on the north and southbound carriageways of the highway.

Traffic jam near Samta Nagar police station check post on the Western Express Highway, on Tuesday. Pic/Satej Shinde
Traffic jam near Samta Nagar police station check post on the Western Express Highway, on Tuesday. Pic/Satej Shinde

In the afternoon when mid-day checked the northbound stretch of the highway between Jogeshwari and Bandra, cops were found to be checking vehicles at the points where nakabandi was in place.

Later in the day, the Mumbai Police Commissioner tweeted, "Gentle Reminder Mumbaikars. Mumbai being a RED ZONE, is yet to see any relaxations from earlier rules, under Lockdown 4.0. Vehicles travelling without valid permission or for non-emergency, DAY or NIGHT, will be impounded & driver to face strict action. It's for your safety first."

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a BMC official said, "Some people thought that relaxations have been given to the public and so they decided to come out on the roads. But the good part is that the police are taking action against those who are bringing out their vehicles without any emergency."

When contacted, additional commissioner of police (traffic), Pravin Padval, said, "Cops will continue to take action against those people who are not involved in providing essential services and are still bringing their vehicles out. Since 7 am we have impounded 1,334 auto-rickshaws, 223 taxis and 873 private cars in Mumbai. Only those who provide essential services and have passes can bring out their vehicles."

873 - No. of private cars impounded since 7 am on Tuesday

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