As the Hajj pilgrims are leaving for their holy annual pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, those accompanying them to the Baitul Hujaj (Hajj House), Bemina are furious with the recent “inconvenient changes” in the parking system there. The traffic authorities, however, are calling it ‘a positive initiative.’
There are two spots near the Hajj House that could have been utilized for the parking: one, that is almost adjacent to the Haj House and other, opposite to it. One has to cross the Haj House Road where vehicles often move at a higher speed. The authorities have chosen the spot opposite to the Haj House. Moreover, only one person is said to be allowed with the pilgrims who can be above the age of 70 years. The two factors: parking and allowing one person with the Hajis, is creating havoc as the one dropping them would be the one who will have to park the vehicle.
“Hajis have been performing Haj for years now. We did need proper traffic management but this decision seems to be illogical,” says one of the commuters who had dropped off his relatives at the Hajj House.
“There is so much space available just a minute away from the Hajj House but the traffic authorities have utilised the spot opposite to the Hajj House. I was hurt while crossing as they have installed barricades. How could they risk the movement of Hajjis? What if they get hurt while trying to cross,” he asked.
He further said that even if one chooses to drop the Hajis and then park the car, the U-turn again makes it inconvenient for them.
While the police officials on the spot stayed mum when the man questioned them, they told him that the decision was taken by SP Traffic, Srinagar.
Referring to the issue, he said, “We have been asked to allow only one person with the pilgrims. People defy that and accompany the Hajis in good numbers. This creates traffic mess.”
He added: “The spot we have chosen is the most convenient for the Hajis. They don’t need anyone inside. The other spot is quite far away. Also, this has happened for the first time and you can see the traffic has not been hampered because of the Hajis.”