300 drivers left in the lurch after Eastern Peripheral Expressway closes for trucks

More than 300 trucks and other heavy vehicles have been stranded on the Eastern Peripheral Expressway passing through Noida and Ghaziabad for the past few days, amid the ongoing kanwar yatra procession which ends on Tuesday.

According to traffic police stationed near Dadri in the Greater Noida area, trucks have been denied entry to ensure a smooth passage for the pilgrims. “The movement of trucks has been stalled to avoid traffic congestion and accidents due to the ongoing pilgrimage of kanwar yatris on their journey to Haridwar and back,” said a traffic police official stationed in Dadri, Greater Noida.

“The barricades on the route towards Dasna, Ghaziabad will be lifted late Monday or Tuesday morning,” said another official.

Locals have stepped up to provide them with meals. “Hotels that lie on the expressway have also been inoperative. We come here every day and provide truck drivers with three meals and medicines if required,” said a group of residents from Kallu Garhi village, Dasna, who carry food in a small open tractor.

For Laalji, a truck driver from Raebareli, stranded at the expressway for the past four days, the help comes as a respite. “We have been told that movement of trucks will be allowed sometime on Wednesday. The villagers provide us with food and water twice a day,” he said. However, the drivers complained of having no toilet facilities.

In Ghaziabad, pilgrims can be found flocking various kanwariya camps set up by locals, which are regularly inspected by police. At one of the camps located inside Shambhu Dayal Inter College in Naya Ganj, Ghaziabad, there were more than 2,000 pilgrims taking shelter as of Tuesday. “The camp was set up Friday, and on the first day, around 100 pilgrims were present inside the camp,” said one of the three Ghaziabad policemen stationed inside the camp. “There are CCTV cameras at the entry and in all the corridors of the camp, along with a water tanker and separate bathrooms for men and women pilgrims. There is food and drinking water, running water and electricity as well as access to basic medicines for pilgrims suffering from small injuries,” another policeman added. Pilgrims were provided access to classrooms and corridors that were converted into resting areas along with mattresses.

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