Hundreds of residents began returning to the city after the government announced further relaxations of the lockdown from September 1
With the State set to open up for renewed economic activity from September 1 after five months of lockdown, toll plazas around Chennai, especially the Paranur toll plaza near Chengalpattu, witnessed heavy vehicular congestion on Monday. The traffic stagnated for hours together as Chennai residents, who were held up in different towns due to COVID-19 restrictions, started returning to the State capital.
Many were seen returning on their two-wheelers, four wheelers and mini vans to the city from far off areas, as the government has allowed most commercial establishments and industrial units to operate fully from September 1. Moreover, the sudden surge in traffic is also attributed to residents who are returning from neighbouring districts in order to report to work.
S.R. Ramachandran of Tiruchi, who came in his car said, “I was running an eatery in Chennai and had to close it down following lockdown restrictions. We left the city three months ago since there was no employment here. As the government has eased restrictions, we are returning with our family from our native towns to start a new life.”
Suganthan of Vadalaur said, “Now the firm I am working for is set to resume operations in Ambattur. I decided to come back to the city and left from my hometown in my car early, and reached Paranur toll plaza around 8 a.m. Due to congestion, I encountered bumper-to-bumper traffic movement up to Tambaram.”
Some residents blamed the authorities for not operating inter-district bus services and found it difficult to return. Thirumalai of Thittakudi said, “We could not wait endlessly for the resumption of public transport and had to hire a van to come back to the city. We were told that we would have to spend more on toll from September 1 and so, we came ahead.”