New Delhi: A group of around 25 people including those selling tea and paan beneath the Ashram flyover, shut since Sunday for the last leg of construction work to link it with DND Flyway, was deployed to manage vehicular traffic as men and machines got to work.
Vehicles were stuck at traffic signals near the Ashram flyover for interminable minutes as dust from construction work blotted out the sun. The team that helped the traffic police manage the vehicular flow had a hard time during office hours.
"Wait time at traffic signals ranged from three to five minutes at noon. The queues were longer in the morning as office goers struggled to cross the around 1.2-kilometre stretch," said Jitendar Nagar, who stood upright wearing a neon jacket near the Ashram metro station.
"I have been shouting at the top of my lungs but some people won't listen. A few would even block the left turn elongating the queue of vehicles," said the 25-year-old from Greater Noida as he signalled a motorcyclist to stop behind the zebra crossing.
Around 100 metres away, towards the DND Flyway, 33-year-old Arun Kumar Roy, with a handkerchief covering his face, directed pedestrians towards a subway.
Roy owned a tea stall beneath the flyover. With the construction work displacing him and other vendors, they have been absorbed into the team managing vehicular flow at traffic signals and U-turns.
"I would earn more selling tea. Now that the tea stall is gone, I had to do something to feed my family. So, I accepted the offer. It's a 12-hour shift, starting at 8:30 am. I help pedestrians and ensure no one is driving on the wrong side," he said.
Sanjeev Kumar, 43, who owned a paan shop beneath the flyover, seemed unhappy with the allowance being paid for working 12 hours in a stretch. "It's tough managing such a huge flow of vehicles, and we are being paid just Rs 11,500 for a month. Also, we cannot take a leave," he said, keeping an eye on the traffic signal.
A traffic policeman said around 30 personnel from other circles have been deployed along the 1.2-km stretch to ensure a smooth flow of traffic.
"Since all people are not aware of the construction work, there will be some problems in the first few days. Things will smoothen out in a week," he said.
A contractor told PTI the work to link the Ashram flyover with the DND Flyway is going on round the clock and will be wrapped up in 45 days.
However, many including Roy and Kumar, feel that one and a month is a vast underestimate and it would take at least double the time to complete the work.
(If you have a story in and around Mumbai, you have our ears, be a citizen journalist and send us your story here. )