The first day after the 15-day-long odd-even restriction spelt chaos on roads across the city. With the Delhi government’s vehicle rationing scheme ending on Friday, people came out in huge numbers with their cars, causing massive traffic snarls.
According to senior officials of the Delhi Traffic Police, there was an increase of at least 40,000 to 60,000 vehicles on the road on Saturday. Major intersections such as ITO, Ashram, Dhaula Kuan, Rao Tula Ram Marg, National Highway-8, Outer Ring Road near Munirka, IIT, Hauz Khas and Chirag Dilli, Ring Road near South Extension, Lajpat Nagar and Maharani Bagh, were choked with vehicles.
Traffic at other important roads such as the C-Hexagon, Connaught Place, Sardar Patel Marg and Anand Vihar also gave a tough time to commuters.
The traffic police, however, were prepared to handle the contingency.
“This is the first day after the odd-even restriction and we were expecting that people would finally drive. To avoid any inconvenience to commuters and to help clear traffic we were operating with our full strength. The number of officers who were present on the roads during the odd-even rule, the same number was present on Saturday,” said Muktesh Chander, special commissioner of police (traffic).
Traffic police officials also said that the condition of traffic is likely to get worse on Monday as people who were forced to keep their cars off the roads will now come back to the roads.
“I was never a big fan of the odd-even rule which the Delhi government brought. It was a major inconvenience for me. We had to drop plans of outings with family and friends only because our car was not allowed to ply that day or postpone everything to 8pm. But on Saturday when I took out my car I realised that the traffic situation was worse than the last fortnight,” said Manish Rana, a resident of west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden.
Many commuters like Rana complained about the jams on social media websites.
“So basically, odd-even rule didn’t fix pollution but cleared Delhi’s traffic jams. Not a complete failure. Huh?” (sic) tweeted Sudhish Kamath.
Apart from more number of vehicles following the rule, Saturday also saw other factors contributing to jams in certain area. It was also Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti on Saturday, because of which roads around gurdwaras were packed with followers leading processions. In many places vehicles of devotees, which were parked along the sides of the road, also created bottlenecks.
The Akshardham stretch — from Noida towards Link Road — was also clogged due to the removal work of a foot over bridge. The Ring Road along Burari was affected by road repairs.