Heavy rain on Friday morning brought life in the Capital to a standstill with water-logged roads causing massive jams across the city, leaving thousands of fuming commuters stranded.
According to the Meteorological Department, the city received 36.1 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours up to 8-30 a.m. and 60.6 mm between 8-30 a.m. and 5-30 p.m.
Almost all major areas in the city saw huge traffic jams due to water-logging from ITO to Patparganj flyover, Defence Colony flyover, Lala Lajpat Rai Marg, GTB Road, Vikas Marg, Mayapuri intersection, Naraina, Indraprastha flyover, Kalindi Kunj, Malviya Nagar, Yusuf Sarai, Adhchini, Africa Avenue, Ring Road, DND flyover, sections of Maharani Bagh, Moolchand underpass, Ashram, M. B. Road, Saket Court, Lado Sarai T-point, Nehru Place, Tilak Bridge, Mathura Road T-point , Purana Qila Road, Pragati Maidan, Shahadra underpass, CGO complex, Shanti Van, Akshardham temple, Geeta Colony and Chungi underpass.
“With all major roads in the city water-logged, it was very difficult to manage traffic. This is the most difficult situation I have seen in the past two years,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg, adding that alternative routes were also water-logged, making it difficult to divert traffic. Traffic movement remained slow at several stretches until well after 9 p.m. The heavy showers led to the death of a minor girl when a boundary wall of a Municipal Corporation of Delhi health centre in Gautam Colony, Narela, collapsed around 7-30 a.m. Commuters also complained of traffic lights not working at several places, in addition to bad road conditions and falling trees, which further impaired road travel. The MCD received 17 complaints of fallen trees and 183 of water-logging on Friday. Traffic was also affected at some places because of Delhi University Student Union elections.
While subscribed users received regular traffic updates from Delhi Traffic Police's SMS service, commuters complained of little or no traffic police presence at several congested stretches like Saket. The attempt to negotiate nearly knee deep water in several places also led to vehicles, including buses, breaking down in the middle of the road, causing further slowdown.
“Water-logging at the Chungi underpass on Vikas Marg led to complete traffic chaos in East Delhi. Incessant rain led to accumulation of water in the underpass leading from Akshardham Temple towards Geeta Colony. Even ITO-bound vehicles were stuck near the Akshardham Temple,” said Loveleen Bhatnagar, who was stuck in traffic near the Akshardham Temple for over an hour.
This underpass was, in fact, one of the showcase projects of the Delhi Government's Public Works Department in the run-up to the Commonwealth Games. It has experienced similar instances of acute water-logging in the past, but no lessons on improving the drainage or installing pump sets to remove the water have been learnt.
Manager with a communications firm, Varun Sharma said: “It took me one-and-a-half hour to cover 4 km from AIIMS towards Lajpat Nagar. Things improved after the Moolchand underpass, but DND to Lajpat Nagar stretch was also jammed.”
Most people went back home or took the Delhi Metro to commute, avoiding roads completely wherever possible. Services on Delhi Metro's Dilshad Garden-Rithala Line (Red Line) were also affected for around three hours from 11-30 a.m. between Shastri Park and Seelampur, where the metro runs at ground level. Bus commuters said water gushed into buses at heavily water-logged places.
Even on social networking site Twitter, “Delhi Rains” was one of the most talked about subjects during the day. Comparisons with Mumbai's rain woes were also abundant, questioning the inability of Delhi to deal with even one downpour.