Ashram Flyover shut: Paan, tea sellers manage traffic for commuters amid rush

Vehicles had a line of up to 1.2-kilometer with at least 25 people from different spheres to help to clear the traffic at Delhi's Ashram flyover, as per PTI's report.

Ashram Flyover shut: Paan, tea sellers manage traffic for commuters amid rush

To control vehicular traffic while workers and equipment went to work, a group of about 25 people, including those serving tea and paan beneath the Ashram flyover, which has been closed since Sunday for the final phase of construction work to link it with the DND Flyway, was deployed. Minutes passed while cars sat at traffic lights close to the Ashram flyover as the sun was obscured by construction-related dust. During working hours, the crew that assisted the traffic police in controlling the flow of traffic struggled. 

"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-kilometer stretch," said Jitendar Nagar, who stood upright wearing a neon jacket near the Ashram metro station.

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"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.

Nagar said most of the people in the team have been sourced from private security agencies. "We have been asked to report here every day for two months. This is my first day," he said. 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 drives 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.

"Around eight to 10 people -- including a cobbler -- who worked here have been asked to help police till the construction work gets completed," he said. 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 most 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.

With PTI inputs

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