It was not only traffic that was thrown out of gear by the construction work on eight subways in the Outer Circle of the Connaught Place (CP).
The operations of the Delhi Metro — a virtual lifeline now, six years after the first train rolled down the tracks — were also hit. The renovation work at CP has led to a rise in the number of passengers for the metro.
“Due to the construction work, the Barakhamba Road station has seen an increase of 10,000-15,000 passengers every day,” said a senior Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) official on condition of anonymity, as he is not authorised to talk to the media.
“The Pragati Maidan station is also catering to 10,000-12,000 more passengers due to the Auto Expo.”
Traffic snarls were reported from across Connaught Place even on Monday.
To avoid the jams at CP, many commuters chose to take a ride on the metro.
The queues at the stations like Central Secretariat on Monday had winded up to the road outside.
“I had to reach the New Delhi Railway station to catch a train but due to the massive jam near Connaught Place, I got late,” said Ramesh Sharma, a sales executive.
“I somehow managed to reach the station just in time.”
DMRC spokesman Anuj Dayal said there has been an increase in ridership but could not furnish exact figures of passengers who used the Metro on Monday. “I left my office in Barakhamba Road at 5.30 p.m. and it took me two hours to reach Dhaula Kuan,” said Pankaj Varma, a Mayapuri resident. “All the roads leading to and from Connaught Place were choked.”
The New Delhi Traders Association (NDTA) has also been witnessing a huge dip in its sales with shoppers avoiding the market due to heavy traffic jams.
“The Lt. Governor has directed NDMC to complete the construction work at the earliest,” said Atul Bhargava, president of NDTA.