LAHORE: Major roads in the provincial capital were paralysed due to heavy traffic on both sides following a sit-in at The Mall by lady health workers (LHW) on Monday.
The LHWs from different districts of Punjab protested near Lahore’s Charing Cross, holding placards and chanting various slogans. They claimed that they will not budge until their demands are met. The LHWs demand a pay raise, proper service structure and scale upgradation.
Queens Road, Faisal Chowk (Charing Cross) and Lawrence Road became hostage to disruptive demonstrations and traffic snarls. The protest caused massive traffic jams around the roads adjacent to the Secretariat Chowk, including Lower Mall and went all the way to Qurtaba Chowk.
Widespread barricading by the city traffic police to restrict movement of protesters also forced the common people, who were tired of waiting in stationary vehicles, to reach their destinations on foot. Verbal clashes were witnessed between the commuters and on-duty traffic wardens.
“This is no way to deal with protests which, since the past few years, have become a regular occurrence. Thanks to the blockade, I could not go to my office today. Traffic police have severely mismanaged the entire situation and provided no alternative routes to people who wish to go to Queen’s Road. Who is responsible for the trouble and mental torment that I went through today?” said an exasperated commuter.
Even after the rally ended, the city traffic police failed to remove the barricades, thus prolonging the agony of not only those riding vehicles but also the pedestrians.
Barricades were placed on Queen’s Road and Lawrence Road; however, huge traffic diversions ended up inconveniencing commuters. Commuters were spotted detouring around the Secretariat Chowk.
Traffic wardens and Punjab Police on the scene stubbornly ignored the people’s pleas and remained indifferent. Furthermore, no government representative came to negotiate with the protesters. The executive’s apparent strategy, to deal with the protesting lady health workers, was to wait the situation out.