Commuters suffer as protesters block E-way

Neha Basudkar
Friday, 10 August 2018

As the Maratha Morcha agitation was getting more and more aggressive, the commuters at Urse toll plaza on Pune-Mumbai Express highway got stranded for the whole day on Thursday. However, it was a young lady Megha Rathod, who appealed to stop the stir and allow vehicular movement. 

Pune: As the Maratha Morcha agitation was getting more and more aggressive, the commuters at Urse toll plaza on Pune-Mumbai Express highway got stranded for the whole day on Thursday. However, it was a young lady Megha Rathod, who appealed to stop the stir and allow vehicular movement. 

Rathod was travelling to Mumbai with her four-year-old son when she got trapped in the middle of the agitation at 10 am at the toll plaza. She was very scared but thankfully the Rapid Action Force (RAF) officers saw the lady and rescued her. Rathod said, “I knew today there is a bandh all over the place but due to some personal reason I had to travel to Mumbai to my parents’ house. We had boarded a private bus from Chinchwad and at Talegaon toll plaza the bus was stopped by the protestors. The bus driver and the passengers decided to go back again to Pune but I had no other option but to leave for Mumbai, so we got down from the bus but got trapped in the agitation. The RAF team rescued us and we were given water and biscuits and we were kept safe in a private bus.”

Rathod, who was sitting with her son under RAF protection in a private bus, out of rage stepped out and started shouting at the protestors to stop the stir and let the people go. She directly went towards the mob and started shouting at them. All the protestors gathered around her and taking this as an advantage the police decided to start the vehicular movement. Initially, the protestors tried to stop the vehicles but then the vehicular movement started in a speedy way.  

Padma Bhagle, RAF Sub-Inspector of Navi- Mumbai 102 Battalion, said, “We saw the lady caught in the middle of the agitation. So I and Devika More, a constable, rushed to rescue her during the agitation but somehow we were not able to find her as there was a lot of rush. When we looked around, we saw that the lady was rushing towards the washroom dragging her bag and carrying her son. So we ran towards her and convinced her that we have not come to hurt her and then we took her safely to a bus parked near the toll naka.”

Similarly, there were people coming to Pune from Mumbai because of some or the other emergencies and got caught. The queue of vehicles stranded on the road reached up to Lonavla. They had to wait till the agitation was called off. 

Vinayak Raut, an IT professional of Mumbai travelling to Pune was lucky enough to get out from furious protestors at the toll plaza. Raut said, “My mother had a heart attack and she was admitted to Jehangir Hospital by our neighbours.” He came from the wrong side and was stopped before the Urse toll naka. He requested the police and they allowed him to go ahead. 

Sunny Telkar, the driver of a private vehicle, said, “A family of 20 had come from the United States and landed in Mumbai in the morning. We started from Mumbai at 6 am only to get trapped in the traffic for several hours.”
Kasabai Jadhav, a commuter travelling towards Pune, said, “My son-in-law had expired and my daughter is all alone at home with her two children. We got to know this in the morning and soon we rushed towards Pune. Now, we have been stuck for more than five hours.”

Milind Salagaar, a businessman from the United Kingdom, said, “My wife and my children have come from the UK for the first time to India. Now my children are hungry and thirsty. There is no water or food available around the place. How are they going to get their demands fulfilled by not keeping the humanity?”

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