Power failure, rains hit Delhi traffic, commuters (Lead)

July 31st, 2012 - 11:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 31 (IANS) Delhi residents had a harrowing time Tuesday as the city’s traffic signals and the Delhi Metro ceased to function for several hours following the failure of the Northern Grid. The rains further added to the woes of the commuters, who got stuck in serpentine traffic jams.

The traffic flow, already slow since Tuesday morning as rains led to waterlogging in several areas, became worse by the afternoon when the lights failed. The situation worsened by evening due to the rush hour.

Nearly 4,000 traffic police personnel were immediately rushed to various spots to manage the flow, a traffic police officer told IANS.

Delhi Disaster Management Authority teams also fanned out to help sort out the traffic tangle and evacuate people from the Delhi Metro, which had to suspend services on all six lines.

Traffic jams were reported from central Delhi business hub Connaught Place, Rajghat, Mayur Vihar, Laxmi Nagar in east Delhi and Moti Nagar, Rajendra Nagar, Pitampura in west Delhi. Major arterial roads connecting Delhi to its satellite towns of Gurgaon and Noida were also among some of the many badly hit spots.

“I was stuck for an hour near Connaught Place, where it normally takes less than 15 minutes to cross,” said Rajesh Sharma, a commuter.

“I boarded a bus from north campus (Delhi University) to Kashmere Gate and it took me an hour to cover that distance which usually takes just 15 minutes,” said Ankita Mehra, a student.

With the Metro coming to a complete halt, buses, autos and taxis were the only mode of public transportation.

While auto rickshaw drivers decided to make most of the opportunity by overcharging the passengers, the buses were bursting at the seams with passengers who did not have deep pockets.

While passengers jostled for space inside buses, some clung on to the window rails, hanging precariously outside the vehicles.

“I have no choice but to travel by bus. The auto driver is demanding Rs. 200 to take me to Patpar Ganj (east Delhi),” said Avinash Singh while boarding a bus from Patel Nagar in west Delhi.

The northern and eastern power grids collapsed around 1 p.m. Tuesday, forcing a power crisis through several states including Delhi. Metro services were suspended around 1.10 p.m.

It was a replay of the scenes Monday, when the Northern Grid had collapsed leading to virtual paralysis of public services in seven states.

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