Unlock 1.0 was marked by kilometre-long snarls at the borders as police insisted on strict check of IDs and co…Read More
NOIDA/GHAZIABAD: If travelling to work across the Delhi-Uttar Pradesh border was a hassle till now, it is likely to be “nothing less than a war”, as a harassed commuter put it. When offices and industries are gradually opening up, Delhi government’s decision on Monday to seal the borders came as a speed-breaker to residents of the capital, Noida and Ghaziabad, who have to cross the borders regularly for work.
The first day of Unlock 1.0 was marked by kilometre-long snarls at the borders as police insisted on strict check of IDs and commuters stopped to enquire about the curbs imposed by Delhi. While vehicles moved at snail’s pace on the DND Flyway, traffic was almost at a standstill at Kalindi Kunj. The situation was no better at UP Gate in Ghaziabad, where officer-goers engaged in arguments with cops.
Sources said Delhi Police was fairly lenient on Noida and Ghaziabad residents on Monday because Delhi government hadn’t issued specific order till later in the day. However, the commuters were told on their return that only those with valid IDs and e-passes could cross the border from Tuesday. This would mean a Noida or Ghaziabad resident working in Delhi will need two passes to commute, one each from the district administration and Delhi government.
Passage across DND Flyway was easier. “We can stop people only when we have the orders. Movement of vehicles is anyway allowed till 9pm,” said a police officer. “We are only stopping trucks and cabs to collect toll. We have been told that the borders will be sealed from Tuesday and only essential services or passholders will be permitted entry.”
Jagat Singh, who lives in Noida Sector 162, was wise enough to stop at DND. He had to drop his sister and her baby at Kalkaji, but decided against entering Delhi. “I don’t have a pass and will return after 9pm when the exit will have been closed,” he said. “So, I called my nephew to come and escort my sister home.”
At Kalindi Kunj, there was utter chaos. Noida Police turned back people from Delhi without valid documents. Gajendra Sharma, a resident of Madanpur Khadar who works in a factory at Noida’s Sector 4, was one of those asked to go back. “Two people from here managed to reach the factory, but I couldn’t. Now, my employer is accusing me of making excuses for not coming to work,” Sharma grumbled.
DCP (Noida) Sankalp Sharma told TOI they had intimated their Delhi counterparts about the UP government’s rules on border curbs. “If we have to resort to checking, some inconvenience is bound to happen. But we have to implement the rules,” he said.
Confusion reigned at the Ghaziabad border too. “By the time the Delhi chief minister announced the sealing, I was already in Delhi. I kept worrying through the day if I would be allowed back into Uttar Pradesh. Truly, commuting now is nothing less than a war,” said Sudip Tyagi, a Rajnagar Extension resident employed with a pharma company in Delhi. Indirapuram resident Sharad Goyal, who owns a factory in Bawana, muttered that commuters were being treated like “ping pong balls” every day.
The Ghaziabad administration said it would stick to its rules. “Our stand is clear. We will not allow anybody without proper IDs. But we don’t have a say on what happens in Delhi,” an official insisted.
At the Chilla border, Narendra Pal Singh, a resident of Shalimar Garden, was stopped by police because he did not have a pass. Singh requested the cops to let him go and they relented after a while. “I had come to meet my father who was not well,” said Singh. “This was the first time I had left my home to meet him in Badarpur after the lockdown. I was not aware that the borders had been sealed again.”
The border sealing is a worry also for businessmen. “I am a transporter and booked consignments in the belief that that roads would open on Monday,” said Prakash Tanwar, returning home to Delhi from his office in Gurgaon’s Udyog Vihar. “Now with the passage obstructed, I don’t know whether to cancel the shipments or get e-passes made.”