Am­bu­lance caught in jam, pa­tient dies

10-Minute Ride From Lal Kuan To Hauz Qazi Hos­pi­tal Took 1 Hour, Fam­ily To Move Court Hauz Qazi, 3pm

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES CITY -

were able to clear the way for the am­bu­lance to reach Lal Kuan, but the trip to the hos­pi­tal was a night­mare. “By the time we reached Bansal Hos­pi­tal in about an hour, my brother had died,” said Nawabud­din, the brother of the de­ceased.

Ri­azud­din’s fam­ily is now con­tem­plat­ing mov­ing court or re­quest­ing po­lice to en­sure that shops on the stretch leave at least room enough for a rick­shaw to pass through and the Khari Baoli-Lal Kuan-Hauz Qazi road, which runs par­al­lel to the cap­i­tal’s red light dis­trict of GB Road, is cleared of its per­pet­ual grid­lock. Iron­i­cally, Nawabud­din pointed out, “A fort­night ago, Ri­azud­din had asked the shop own­ers as­so­ci­a­tion to make a plea to se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials for a traf­fic re­dress.”

Lo­cals say that 8,00010,000 goods ve­hi­cles ply on the stretch be­tween 5am and 2pm, even dur­ing school hours. Af­ter the Chawri Bazar metro sta­tion was opened, the con­ges­tion in­creased many times over, but no steps were taken to in­crease the width of the road.

When TOI vis­ited the stretch on Satur­day, one could see how at least two of the four lanes ac­com­mo­dated goods be­long­ing to whole­sale shops. “There are more than 20,000 shops here that re­ceive cargo from out­side. There are also over a lakh buy­ers here ev­ery day,” said Feroz Khan, a mem­ber of the shop own­ers’ as­so­ci­a­tion. “We have re­quested the au­thor­i­ties to put in place a sys­tem that re­stricts en­try of dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of ve­hi­cles at dif­fer­ent times, but to no avail.”

The ob­struc­tions on the pas­sages out­side the shops fre­quently lead to ac­ci­dents. “Last year, a goods ve­hi­cle crushed a 12-year-old while re­vers­ing on the clogged road,” said Mo­ham­mad Nafis, gen­eral sec­re­tary of NGO Youth Ser­vice Mis­sion, which has been cam­paig- ning for the de­con­ges­tion of roads in the Walled City. Ev­ery year, there are on-road med­i­cal emer­gen­cies such as deaths and de­liv­er­ies, he added.

Nafis dis­closed that he had pro­posed the de­ploy­ment of a traf­fic cop to clear way for emer­gency ve­hi­cles. “We in­form the po­lice dur­ing emer­gen­cies to help us clear the way. How­ever, un­less there is a proper sys­tem for this, we are forced to rely on the avail­abil­ity of a po­lice­man on the lo­ca­tion,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice, a cir­cu­la­tory traf­fic plan had been framed in 2011to stream­line the move­ment of ve­hi­cles, but the op­po­si­tion to the plan had come mainly from the shop­keep­ers. The cops wanted to force goods ve­hi­cles to stop us­ing the stretch at cer­tain stip­u­lated pe­ri­ods, only to have the shop­keep­ers plead­ing that of­fload­ing of goods was not pos­si­ble in the time slots pro­posed.

Yo­gesh Ku­mar

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