Mumbai: Mumbaikar’s defied lockdown regulations and chose to step out despite section 144 being imposed in the city creating traffic snarls on the Western Express Highway (WEH) and the Eastern Express Highway (EEH).
Heavy vehicular traffic was reported on both these roads, but traffic police officials said that traffic was considerably less on the internal roads of Mumbai.
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Nandkumar Thakur, deputy commissioner of police (Traffic Headquarters) said that while the number of vehicles has come down on other city roads, the WEH has seen major congestion. Thakur, who also holds charge of the central traffic region, said, "The vehicular movement on central Mumbai roads, like Dadar, Worli, Matunga, is relatively less, but a number of motorists not working in the essential service industry have stepped out, causing the congestion."
Dahisar, Vashi and Mulund check Naka too observed major congestion, mostly on the south-bound arm, added DCP Thakur. While police stations too have erected checkpoints across the city to crack down on errant motorists flouting the norms, only private vehicles are being checked on day one of the fresh prohibitory orders. "Congestion is observed only where nakabandis and checkpoints have been placed, otherwise the traffic across the city has come down a notch," DCP Thakur said.
"Private vehicles are largely being checked on checkpoints, which is one of the main reasons for congestion. If a motorist is found travelling despite being a non-essential worker, the vehicle is parked along the road and the motorists are penalised, which is causing congestion and bumper-to-bumper traffic," said Somnath Gharge, DCP (Traffic Western).
Since it is the first day of new restrictions and people are still not clear on what is allowed and what is not, people tend to go on about their normal routine and get penalised, added Gharge. Meanwhile, the SV Road, Link Road and other interior roads saw a comparatively low traffic turnout on Thursday.