Saheli Dey, Kolkata: While half of the citizens are waiting anxiously to what their Didi would say from the dais on the occasion of Trinamool’s Martyrs’ Day, the other half are either stranded on roads waiting for any mode of transport or are getting frustrated trying to bargain with the auto drivers as they have already hiked the fares unnecessarily.
Soumi Das (name changed), who has been trying to get an auto for at least an hour, said, “This is so frustrating. I need to reach my office on time. But either the autos are not ready to go, or they are asking for 100 rupees. Can you believe 100 rupees? The actual fare is just 15 rupees.”
To this, one of the auto-drivers quite confidently said, “When there is lack of transport today, we are here to help the citizens to reach their destinations. So if we ask for a bit more fare, what is the problem?”
The city has been witnessing the menace of the autos since several years starting from unreasonable hike in fares to behaving badly or even assaulting the passengers. The menace have reached a notch high on Saturday when they are hiking the fares uncontrollaby to a maximum of Rs. 250 for a ride of Rs. 25.
Not only the supporters or workers of the TMC party are scattered throughout the city, but the common citizens are also on the roads trying to reach their destinations.
This situation is not only on the roads, but also in local trains or metro stations. A father trying to take his daughter to school by the metro, shared with us his ordeal. He said, “I know what happens on this day and so I and my daughter have reached the Sova Bazaar metro at least an hour ago. But with so much increase in the number of passengers, I am finding it difficult to board it. I think I will try to get my daughter to her school in a cab.”
The angry father also said, “The metro authorities should have increased the number of trains keeping in mind what happens on this day. So many people are trying to get inside an already full compartment.”
The number of metro rails also seems to be insufficient to the huge turnout from the TMC workers from districts.
Rallies from different parts of the city, to reach the spot at Dharmatala, have already started since early morning. The traffic situation is already tense.
The Kolkata Police had already adviced daily commuters to go out of their houses early. The citizens are already aware of the situation that the city turns into on this day every year. But no one can reach late to their office or their schools or colleges. So it is better to go out early and reach the destination on time.
It needs to be mentioned that today, that is, Saturday is off-day for the government employees. However, the bank employees have a full-day office on July 21.
Ramesh Neogi (name changed) came from Purulia to attend the ‘Shahid Diwas’ programme. Quite excited he said, “We are having a great time. We reached here day before yesterday and are staying at Milan Mela. We were given rice and egg curry. Today after the programme, we want to visit the zoo. We hail Didi for the development she did to our village. Trinamool Congress Zindabad! Didi Zindabad” Ramesh is one among the lakhs of people who have come to attend the Martyrs’ Day rally.
Every year, the party holds the Martyrs’ Day rally on July 21 in Kolkata to pay homage to 13 Youth Congress workers, who were allegedly killed in police firing in 1993, when the Left Front government was in power.
Every year, the commuters and pedestrians also face huge dilemma to move an inch within the city.