The Maratha quota protest march, led by activist Manoj Jarange-Patil, is set to enter Mumbai on January 26, creating anticipation for potential traffic disruptions.
As the city awaits detailed traffic plans, the protestors are expected to approach via the Eastern Freeway, heading towards Azad Maidan in south Mumbai for an indefinite hunger strike. The Shivaji Park in Dadar is another agitation venue.
The notification issued for the protest restricts heavy vehicles, buses, trailers, and trucks during specific hours to manage traffic. Heavy vehicles are barred from entering south Mumbai from 8 am to 11:30 am (southbound) and 5 pm to 9 pm (northbound). Additionally, heavy vehicles are restricted from entering south Mumbai roads from 7 am to midnight.
To accommodate traffic movement, vehicles are permitted up to various junctions during specific hours. However, the final traffic strategy will be determined based on the size of the convoy and the number of participants.
On Wednesday morning, a group of senior ministers including deputy Chief Ministers Devendra Fadnavis and Ajit Pawar held a review of the situation and arrangements made in the wake of the protest march by Jarange-Patil.
Given the public holiday on January 26, the situation could worsen as people utilize the Eastern Freeway and other routes for travel. As the protestors approach Panvel, authorities are preparing for the possibility of increased congestion and traffic challenges throughout the city. The protesters’ demands revolve around securing Kunbi (OBC) status for the Maratha community.
The government had earlier announced it will hold a special session of the state legislature on February 26 to grant reservation to Marathas. Jarange-Patil and the protesters walking with him have demanded an immediate solution to the issue and have announced that they will be stationed at Azad Maidan in south Mumbai.