This too shall not pass: Delhi stuck for hours

This too shall not pass: Delhi stuck for hours

New Delhi: Two years ago, there was the embarrassing experience of US secretary of state John Kerry’s motorcade being immobilised by
waterlogging on the roads. But as the first heavy showers of the season showed on Friday, no lessons were learnt. Commuters moved at glacial pace in many places in the capital, though the cops later claimed they managed to avert standstill traffic with their pre-emptive measures.

Till Friday evening, the traffic control room received 22 calls about waterlogged roads, two about uprooted trees and six about vehicles breaking down on arterial roads. “We asked all our additional commissioners and deputy commissioners to step out to ease the situation,” said Arun Kampani, joint CP (Traffic). “Nearly 2,500 policemen equipped with cranes were deployed to remove stalled vehicles to reduce the duration of traffic snarls.”

At around 4pm, covering a distance of 5km on Ring Road in south Delhi took more than 90 minutes, reported commuters. At Minto Road in central Delhi, Satish Unnikrishnan’s car idled for almost an hour due to a jam. The underpass nearby, like the one at Zakhira, was submerged in 7 feet of water and a bus and its passengers were stranded. Divya Sharma, who left ITO for Sarojini Nagar at 3.45pm, reached home only at 7pm. “All the roads going to south Delhi were gridlocked,” she said.

According to a traffic police estimate, the average speed in the city was reduced to 10kmph for more than four hours in the evening. The worst stretches were at Modi Mill flyover, Zakhira flyover, Kamal T-Point, Dhaula Kuan flyover, Welcome Colony metro station, Anand Parbat, Old Railway Bridge, Kishan Ganj, Azad Market, Old Iron Bridge and Dharmpura.

Police said they had sent reminders to civic bodies about taking corrective actions on stretches prone to waterlogging. Some required rectification of engineering problems, but apart from clearing of drains, nothing else was done, the cops complained.

A traffic officer said, “We provided live updates to the civic agencies and informed them on the hotline about areas that needed water to be pump out.” Police also advised motorists to avoid many of the affected stretches through social media even after the water had receded to prevent cave-ins.