Rain leads to traffic jams, police blame civic agencies (Lead)

August 8th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Incessant rainfall Friday brought the national capital to a near-standstill. Snaking queues of vehicles on almost all roads were a common sight even as the police blamed civic agencies for pot holes and insufficient drainage that led to the traffic jams. The Delhi traffic police blamed poor condition of roads, potholes and insufficient drainage system for the long jams on the city roads.

According to the officials at the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Delhi received 15.2 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours till Friday morning. This takes the total amount of rainfall that the city has received this month to 133.9 mm.

“The continuous rainfall has brought down the temperature. The minimum temperature recorded this morning was 24.9 degrees Celsius, which is two degrees below normal. Yesterday (Thursday) the maximum temperature was four degrees below normal,” an IMD official told IANS.

Battling the chaos on the waterlogged roads, most office goers said they left home earlier than usual to escape the morning rush, but were still caught in the traffic jam.

Traffic signals at many places stopped functioning leading to further trouble faced by commuters and office goers travelling from one part of the city to the other.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) S.N. Srivastava blamed civic agencies for massive jams and showed his haplessness for the inconvenience being caused to hundreds of thousands of people in the city.

“The situation would not change until or unless we have better roads and efficient and sufficient drainage systems. The civic agencies are responsible for traffic jams,” Srivastava told IANS.

“At our end, we have deployed the entire strength of the traffic police on roads to facilitate vehicular flow and are taking all necessary measures,” he added.

Asked about non-working traffic signals, Srivastava said: “Traffic lights are not working due to power failure. It is the responsibility of the discom companies to ensure supply of power.”

Though the jams caused delays on almost all the major roads in the city, the worst hit areas included Ashram, Mathura Road, Lajpat Nagar to Moolchand flyover, Andrews Ganj, Okhla, Kalkaji, Modi Mills Flyover, Sriniwaspuri, areas near Sai Baba Mandir and Sewa Nagar, Bhishma Pitamah Marg, GK-I and Khanpur.

Public relations executive Aarti Sharma, who travels from Model Town in north Delhi to her south Delhi office in South Extension, said it took her nearly double the time that she generally takes to drive to work.

“The Ring Road was absolutely choked. Two wheelers, three wheelers and buses stood bumper to bumper. And to top that, there was the constant honking of the cars. All of that has left me tired and I am just not looking forward to work,” an exasperated Sharma said.

Abhinav Goswami, professor at Hansraj College in the Delhi University campus in north Delhi, said he had to cancel his first class since he was stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it to college on time.

“I had to call one of my students and tell him that I would take their class at some other time,” he said.

Manish Shukla, practising lawyer in Delhi High Court, said in the past 30 years he had never seen such massive traffic jams on Shanti Path. “I remained stuck for almost two hours near Rail Museum. There was no traffic cop manning the roads. I reached court almost three hours late.”

Amid all the frustration, some rickshaw and auto drivers, had a field day fleecing helpless commuters.

College student Shagufta Rahman said: “Generally I pay Rs.15 to go to the Delhi University metro station. But today none of the rickshaw pullers agreed to go even at Rs.30. All drenched, I somehow managed to find one who agreed to go at that amount.”

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