The incessant rains over the last couple of days drowned the Millennium City of Gurgaon causing long traffic snarls, some even extending more than 10 kilometres. Several areas in the city were flooded, pointing to the critical lack of infrastructure and a planned drainage system.The situation worsened on Thursday night when commuters, travelling in motorcycles and four-wheelers were stuck in traffic jams for hours.
This led to a chaotic situation exposing the lack of preparations to deal with such conditions in a city where thousands of commuters enter from different parts of Delhi for different purposes. A large number of multinational companies are housed in the city which employ thousands of people residing in different parts of Delhi. The authorities also seemed under-prepared in dealing with the situation initially as the pumping of water was stopped after a couple of hours on Thursday due to danger of the Badshahpur drain overflowing.
The district magistrate also ordered that schools should remain closed on Friday and Saturday. However, confusion prevailed as parents sent their wards to school on Friday morning and the school authorities sent them back home.
The situation seemed to be grim on Friday morning too as the Gurgaon police issued an advisory asking people traveling from Delhi to stay back and avoid getting stuck in traffic jams. Many vent their frustration and anger on social media sharing pictures and videos on social media. However, the police tried their best to keep the civilians updated with current situation at different areas through Twitter and other platforms.
Soon, the blame game and exchange of accusations between political parties started, as is similar with every crisis in India. While the Haryana government blamed the choked Najafgarh drain of causing overflow in Badshahpur drain, the Delhi officials hit back and highlighted ill-quipped ‘kuchha’ diversions in the city.
Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar even took to Twitter on Friday and accused Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal of not cooperating to which Manish Sisodia replied taking a pot shot at him saying “merely changing the name from Gurgaon to Gurugram does not mean development.” The BJP government also blamed previous Hooda-led government of not giving importance to overall infrastructure which led to the problem of traffic jams.
Meanwhile, to deal with the situation, the state government dispatched a company each of State Disaster Response Force and India Reserve Battalion to Gurgaon. CISF, BSF personnel and 250 homeguards were also deployed to manage the traffic. Chief Minister Khattar’s plan to visit the area failed after his helicopter could not take off because of poor weather conditions on Friday.
Gurgaon Deputy Commissioner T L Satyaprakash also imposed section-144 in areas near Hooda City Centre to ease out the congestion. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari ordered that a team of officials be sent to Gurgaon for clearing traffic and then to submit a report to him.
The situation improved on Friday evening and the prohibitory orders were also lifted. Potholes appeared on roads on Saturday morning as water receded. The restoration work has begun as the flow of traffic will again go up as Monday approaches. Although the weekend is predicted to get less rain than usual, strong showers are expected by Tuesday.