Delhi’s traffic is proving to be a killjoy for Diwali shoppers with all roads leading to major shopping hubs choc-a-bloc as vehicular movement skyrocketed over the fortnight.
Delhi Traffic police said shoppers spent hours stuck in congestions, especially in Sarojini Nagar, Lajpat Nagar, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, South Extension and Connaught Place, across the city as the number of vehicles on the road shot up by at least 50% over the last two weeks.
“The police have set up barricades all around the market, creating a bottleneck for vehicles. These pickets are barely serving the purpose of security as no policeman was found manning them. It is only creating a nuisance for shoppers,” said Shalini Shashidharan, a shopper at Karol Bagh.
It was utter chaos at the popular central Delhi shopping area with even the traffic and local police officials finding it hard to weave their way in and out of the busy market while safeguarding the place.
Shoppers complained that diversions around the parking lots forced them to park their vehicles on the roadside, worsening the holdups.
The situation was similar along Ring Road, Outer Ring Road, Mathura Road, Ashram Intersection, Vikas Marg, Aurobindo Road, Bhishma Pitamah Marg and ITO.
A recent study by IIT-Delhi showed that over the last five years, traffic movement in the Capital slowed to around 5km per hour during the festival months of October, November and December.
The study also said that crimes such as pick pocketing, molestation, violence and road rage saw a drastic increase in the capital during this period. Most of the busy intersections in the city have been choking over heavy traffic and the police are struggling to check the crowd.
“This is a problem we face every year. More than 10 lakh vehicles enter Delhi’s borders from NCR adding to the 50-60 lakh that already ply here. The parking lots are barely enough to accommodate the footfall,” said a senior traffic police official.
The official also warned that Delhiites should brace up for more jams in the coming weekend.
Footfall in popular markets around festivals
80,000-100,000 - Karol Bagh
70,000 - Lajpat Nagar
50,000-60,000 - Sarojini Nagar
20,000-30,000 - South Extension