On the first day of the new year, the capital witnessed massive traffic snarls as thousands headed to India Gate and Connaught Place to celebrate. This, coupled with the partial closure of the Lajpat Nagar-Ashram flyover, brought vehicular movement to a standstill at key stretches.
At India Gate, traffic police were forced to issue an advisory as the crowd increased. “Traffic will remain very heavy near India Gate C-hexagon due to gathering of more than one lakh pedestrians and heavy volume of motorists. No parking available around India Gate. Advised to avoid India Gate and take alternate route,” the advisory said.
Rohit Kumar Singh, who commutes from Mayur Vihar to Connaught Place for work, said, “Usually, it takes me about 45 minutes to get back home, even during peak traffic. On Monday, I was stuck in traffic for almost two hours. I spent just an hour waiting at the India Gate circle. The traffic police seemed completely unprepared for today.”
Special Commissioner of Police (traffic) Dependra Pathak told The Indian Express, “People from Delhi and NCR came to India Gate. We worked on fire-fighting mode to regulate traffic. We also took help from local police, who took charge of major choked points and regulated traffic.”
Key routes connecting central Delhi to different parts of the city also got blocked while traffic at ITO, Mathura Road and Vikas Marg came to a standstill.
Similar problems were faced by commuters in southeast Delhi. Last week, the Public Works Department (PWD) had warned of traffic being impacted due to work on the Lajpat Nagar-Ashram flyover. The department was carrying out repairs on an eight inch-wide gap that had developed on the flyover.
While the PWD reassured that the gap was “natural” and “not a subject of worry”, repair work and diversion of traffic will last till January 28. “In the first two weeks of January, traffic from Moolchand to Ashram will be diverted to take the road underneath the flyover. After January 14, the second carriageway — from Moolchand to Ashram — will be closed,” a PWD official said. Other areas such as Ashram Chowk, Moolchand flyover and Bhishm Pitamah Marg were also blocked. By 5pm, Noida-Delhi carriageway — from the flyover to the Yamuna bridge — saw congestion too.
With thousands trying to get to India Gate, the Central Secretariat Metro station was swamped Monday. “Some gates were shut temporarily during the evening, when footfall peaked,” a senior DMRC official said. (PTI)