With Diwali just a week away, people on shopping and gift distribution errands clogged city roads on Thursday evening, leading to massive jams and long commutes.
Traffic volumes shot up 40% and will continue to torment motorists for the next week till Diwali on Wednesday, senior traffic police officers warned.
The festive rush blocked all arterial roads, from Paharganj and Connaught Place in central Delhi to Aurobindo Road and South Extension in south Delhi.
"The commute from CP to Munirka, which generally takes 35 to 40 minutes, took about two hours," said Soumya Chakraborty, a resident of Munirka.
With the evenings the busiest because that's when most people are out shopping, the traffic police have changed deployment plans for the week, taking out staff from morning peak hour duty and putting them on evening duty. The special arrangement will remain effective between 4pm and 11pm, said a senior officer.
"The additional deployment, however, won't help reduce travel time as traffic volume will be beyond road capacity. They will just try and lessen congestions and chaos," said Satyendra Garg, joint commissioner of police (traffic). "You can't expect a better traffic situation till Diwali."