Traffic was thrown out of gear in several parts across the capital after a massive dust storm hit the Delhi-NCR region around 5 pm on Friday.
The storm uprooted trees and electric poles, blocking arterial roads and causing major traffic bottlenecks in 37 stretches in the capital.
On several stretches, the traffic jam continued for over two kilometres.
The worst-hit stretches included Mathura Road, Sardar Patel Marg, Aurobindo Marg, Akshardham, Ranjeet Singh flyover, Sarita Vihar and Rhotak Road. A 3 km-long jam was reported in Punjabi Bagh towards Peeragarhi and Nangloi.
“The NDMC area district was badly affected because of the large number of trees there. The uprooted trees damaged cars parked on the roads,” a police officer said.
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Normalcy, however, resumed by late evening in most parts of the city. “We tried to expedite the operation by roping in resources from civic agencies to help us remove uprooted trees and poles. Stretches however were clear by 9 pm,” a police officer said.
Meanwhile, environmentalists blamed concretisation for large number of trees that were uprooted in the storm. They claimed that if civic authorities had taken up deconcretisation seriously, the extent of damage could have been scaled down.
“In most cases, the trees fall on the road. This is because concretisation is mostly on the side of the road, which weakens the the roots under the road. Water can’t percolate through the concrete or the asphalt road,” Dr Aarti Saxena, department of Botany in Sri Venkateswara College, said.
Prabhakar Rao of Kalpavriksh, an environmental action group, said despite several National Green Tribunal orders, deconcretisation had not been taken up seriously.
Metro services hit as cables snap
Thousands of commuters were stranded as services of the Delhi Metro were disrupted following Friday’s dust storm. According to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), services were disrupted for an hour — from 5 pm to 6 pm — as wires got entangled knocking off power. Flying tin sheets and pipes got entangled in the overhead power cables at Janakpuri and Inderlok, disrupting services. The Metro Blue Line, between Dwarka and Noida City Centre/Vaishali, was the worst-hit. Passengers on the Yellow Line, between Jahangirpuri and Huda City Centre, were also stranded.