Capital hit hard by first pre-monsoon showers

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IN A JAM: The state of affairs at the Chanakyapuri underpass after the rain on Tuesday morning. - PHOTO: V. V. KRISHNAN.
IN A JAM: The state of affairs at the Chanakyapuri underpass after the rain on Tuesday morning. - PHOTO: V. V. KRISHNAN.

Staff Reporter

Roads flooded, traffic jammed, thousands stranded, flights disrupted, drains clogged

NEW DELHI: Heavy pre-monsoon showers lashed the Capital on Tuesday thoroughly exposing all official claims of "preparedness" by the civic agencies as waterlogged roads left thousands of people and vehicles stranded for hours. The showers also hit air traffic at Delhi airport with 17 flights delayed between 7-30 a.m. and 9-30 a.m.

Delhi received 70 mm of rainfall in the morning bringing some much-needed relief to the citizens who chose to stay indoors as the mercury dipped well below normal. The minimum temperature recorded on Tuesday was 21.5 degrees Celsius, eight degrees below normal.

Despite more showers forecast by the weatherman for the next couple of days, the Meteorological Department asserted that the monsoon is likely to miss its June 29 date with the Capital. Though the south-west monsoon hit Kerala on May 26, five days ahead of schedule, there has been a "weak trend" since June 8 leading to delay in the arrival of the monsoon here, they added.

On Tuesday, sharp showers for just a couple of hours in the morning saw Delhiites' worst fears coming true as several major roads across the city were flooded in no time. Long stretches of Ring Road, ITO Crossing, Vikas Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, Mathura Road and Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road were choked with traffic. People in many areas including Model Town, Rajouri Garden, Yamuna Bazar and Kashmere Gate complained about water from overflowing drains entering their homes. The railway underpasses at Chanakyapuri, Minto Road and Tilak Bridge were badly hit.

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which has opened a centralised control room at Town Hall and all zonal offices, received over 350 complaints of waterlogging from across the city. The maximum complaints were received from Rohini Zone (97), followed by Civil Lines (50), Karol Bagh and South Zone (30 each), Shahdara-South (19), West and Sadar Paharganj (18 each). The ITO Crossing was severely hit as portions of nearby roads -- Vikas Marg, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg and Mathura Road -- were waterlogged. "Due to ongoing construction of the Delhi Metro railway station near Appu Ghar, a major drain was clogged leading to heavy waterlogging at nearby places. This resulted in huge traffic jams in adjoining areas stretching up to a kilometre," said a senior MCD official.

"It normally takes me 30 minutes to reach office in CP. But due to waterlogging and stalled cars on the roads, movement of traffic on the entire ITO Bridge was severely affected during the morning rush hour. It took me more than two hours to reach my office," rued a telecom executive living in Preet Vihar.

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