Modi visit disrupts life in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, Sep 11 (IANS) It is one regret and inquiry that the Chandigarh residents could certainly have done without.

It was Narendra Modi’s first ever visit – and that too for only four hours – to the City Beautiful after becoming the prime minister, but it led to closure of the city’s main cremation ground, forced ambulances carrying patients on longer detours to reach hospitals, shut schools, made the most busy roads inaccessible to the common man and even saw opposition Congress leaders cooling heels in police lock-ups.

A few families grieving for their near and dear ones were not even allowed to cremate their dead at the sector 25 cremation ground, forcing them to take the bodies either to neighbouring S.A.S. Nagar town in Punjab or Manimajra on city outskirts.

The reason? Modi addressed a public rally at a ground that lies next to the main cremation ground in sector 25 here.

“There was death of a young one in family. As we were making funeral arrangements, we were told that the cremation ground in sector 25 was locked out due to the PM’s visit. This is shocking! How can Modi and other authorities be so insensitive to the dead and their close ones? He preaches one thing and practices everything else,” Gurmeet Singh, a city resident whose friend passed away on Friday, told IANS.

The bereaved family finally took the body to adjoining S.A.S. Nagar for cremation.

The Chandigarh Police and local authorities showed no sympathy for those who needed immediate medical attention too.

To facilitate the prime minister’s smooth movement on city roads for the three events, even ambulances carrying patients were not spared. They were forced to take longer detours to ensure smooth passage for the PM’s motorcade of nearly 100 vehicles.

Ironically, Modi attended a convocation of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and told doctors to be “compassionate” to patients. Outside the auditorium where he preached, Modi’s security paraphernalia ensured maximum restrictions on patients and their attendants.

That was not all.

Even before Modi arrived in the city, the Chandigarh Administration, in its own infinite wisdom, ordered nearly 200 schools to be closed on Friday. Even examinations in some institutions were postponed.

As Modi’s cavalcade zipped through the city roads, commuters, particularly on two-wheelers and bicycles, faced the maximum harassment in hot weather. Traffic was blocked at several points in the 114 square km union territory. The resultant traffic snarls made matters worse for motorists.

Modi, who lived in and around Chandigarh for a few years when he was a state-level BJP leader and used to move around on a scooter, told the gathering at his rally that he was quite familiar with the city and its people and could even see old comrades in the gathering. He added that he could not meet them due to his new responsibility (as PM) and the attached security detail.

As the common man suffered immensely in hosting Modi the prime minister, he offered a few lines of sympathy through his Twitter handle: “An inquiry will be held and responsibility will be fixed for the inconvenience caused to the people of Chandigarh.”

“The inconvenience caused to the citizens in Chandigarh, especially shutting of schools due to my visit, is regretted. It was totally avoidable.”

The fate of such inquiries are too well known to be even discussed.

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