All it took for the national Capital to come to a grinding halt was a brief spell of rain.
Traffic was thrown out of gear on Tuesday with several areas getting inundated by rainwater. The chaos washed away the tall claims made by the civic agencies of cleaning storm water drains.
Rain started at 9.30 am and within half an hour, a large number of roads, including the arterial ones, were choked. Motorists had a tough time wading through the waterlogged roads. A number of cars broke down, adding to the melee.
The phones in the control rooms of the three municipal corporations were seldom on dial, with motorists and residents continuously registering complaints. In all, 64 complaints were received from various parts, including Shanti Niketan, Malviya Nagar, Adhchini, Safdarjang Encalve, Green Park Extension and Niti Bagh.
The Delhi traffic police too blamed the choked storm water drains and sewer lines for the traffic snarls across the city. It received a number of complaints of traffic jams from the Ring Road, Outer Ring Road, Bhogal, Bhisham Pitamah Marg, Kalkaji Mandir flyover, Africa Avenue, New Delhi Railway Station and Azad Market.
PWD minister Raj Kumar Chauhan repeated the excuse of an outdated drain system. Most of the arterial roads in Delhi come under the jurisdiction of PWD.
"The drainage system of the city is quite old and is now proving inadequate. It rained quite heavily on Tuesday and naturally it took time for the rainwater to be drained out. We tried our best to clean the drains but till the entire drainage system is not overhauled the problem will persist," said Chauhan.
The lackadaisical attitude of the civic authorities can be gauged from the fact that the silt removed from the drains was not cleared and it was washed back into the drains again with the rain.
Mukesh Yadav, director press and information, South Delhi Corporation, said over 90 water pumps had been installed in various south Delhi areas to drain out rainwater.
The North Delhi Corporation claimed that a large number of complaints that it received concerned the roads under PWD jurisdiction.
Both the PWD and the three corporations are responsible for cleaning the drains in the city.
Rain expected to continue
Heavy rainfall that lashed the city on Tuesday is expected to continue for another couple of days. The Met Department has forecast rain for the whole of the remaining week.
"We are expecting rain for the rest of this week. On Wednesday, we have forecast one or two spells of rainfall, which may be heavy in some areas," a Met official said.
The temperature on Wednesday expected to be between 30 degrees and 24 degrees. On Tuesday, the gauges recorded 28.2 mm of rainfall since 8.30 am.
Maximum temperature on Tuesday was 29.4 degree Celsius while minimum stayed at 24.8 degrees. The temperatures are expected to be cool for the rest of the week, the Met official said.