Commuters travelling from Gurgaon towards the Delhi via National Highway 48 (NH48) on Thursday morning found themselves caught up in a massive traffic jam at the Sirhaul toll plaza, with the Delhi Police setting up barricades and checking vehicles in anticipation of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests, scheduled to be staged in the capital later in the day.
The barricades, set up from around 8 am, led to an eventual backlog of over 7 kilometres, extending beyond IFFCO Chowk in Gurgaon by 11 am.
— Sakshi Dayal (@sakshi_dayal) December 19, 2019
Delhi Traffic Police took to Twitter to warn commuters of the barricading, tweeting, “On the road from Gurgaon to Delhi, local police has put barricades and is checking. Because of which traffic will be obstructed. Kindly use alternative route.”
Gurugram Traffic Police similarly Tweeted, “Traffic congestion has been reported at Delhi-Gurugram border on NH48 due to barricading by Dehi Police. @TrafficGGM is on the spot to facilitate the traffic.”
For those already caught up in the congestion, however, the warning came late, with several people complaining of having missed flights and important meetings.
Due to sealing of Delhi borders at NH48, MG road and Old Delhi-Gurugram road by Delhi Police, citizens are advised to avoid non essential travel to Delhi. Inconvenience caused is deeply regretted. @gurgaonpolice @TOIGurgaon @HTGurgaon @htTweets @thetribunechd @aajtak pic.twitter.com/kgQuSddXVg
— Gurugram Traffic Police (@TrafficGGM) December 19, 2019
“I saw the Tweets put out by traffic police from Delhi only around 10 am, by which point I was deep into the traffic jam and there was nothing I could do. If they have to take such measures, they should issue a prior warning so that commuters are not inconvenienced. I had an important meeting with a client at my office in Delhi, which I missed because of this,” said Shubra Sharma, a resident of Sector 15.
Another resident of a gated condominium on Golf Course Road, who preferred not to be named, said, “I had a flight to Chennai for some official work at 10.30 am. I had left home for the airport at 8 am, well in time for the check in. However, I ended up missing my flight because I was stuck in the traffic at the border for one and a half hours, as police allowed vehicles only to pass through the barricades one at a time.”
Two protests are scheduled to take place in the capital against the CAA this morning, scheduled at 11 am and 12 pm. Protestors from as far as Mewat are expected to be present at the demonstrations, with those involved in Wednesday’s march in the district, from the PWD rest house in Nuh to the Eidgah in Ghasera village, confirming that they would be travelling to Delhi for the purpose on Thursday.
Massive traffic congestion was also reported on the Mehrauli – Gurgaon road, with commuters using the stretch stating they were delayed by more than an hour. A commuter traveling to her office in Okhla from Gurgaon’s DLF5 said, “Usually I take the highway to work but today decided to use MG road because I had heard about the jams on NH48. However, I have been stuck on the Sunset Boulevard road itself for an hour now, and haven’t even reached the Guru Dronacharya metro station, which is only 7 km away from my house.”
“I am supposed to reach work by 11.30 am, and left well in time for that, but I don’t see myself reaching until at least an hour later,” she said. Gurgaon Traffic Police, around 11.30 am, acknowledged this fact and released a tweet warning commuters to avoid non essential travel into the capital.
“Due to sealing of Delhi borders at NH48, MG road and Old Delhi-Gurugram road by Delhi Police, citizens are advised to avoid non essential travel to Delhi. Inconvenience caused is deeply regretted.” stated the Tweet.
Commuters within the city were also impacted by the traffic jams on Thursday morning. A 28-year-old woman who works at a multinational corporation in Udyog Vihar said, “Travelling from my home in sector 54 to work usually takes me around half an hour, but today I was stuck on the roads for an hour and a half. If I had known this would be the situation, I would have just worked from home.”