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Off the road, year after year

delhi Updated: Jul 08, 2010 23:38 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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When it rains, it pours — goes the adage. But in Delhi, when it rains, it pours chaos on the streets. A few minutes of rain on Wednesday brought Delhi to its knees. Drains overflowed, streets got waterlogged, roads caved in and traffic came to a screeching halt.

And with the spells of rain coinciding with peak hours, long traffic snarls were only the first of many woes the monsoon seems to have brought in its wake. It was not a one-off case. Ask Delhiites and they would swear how the story is repeated with every spell of rain. Every time it rains, Delhi's already crumbling infrastructure collapses miserably, suggesting that the city is not prepared to face even such a seemingly-minor problem like a good spell of rain.

Poor drainage

According to joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg, there were three problems that threw the entire traffic in south Delhi and New Delhi out of gear for almost six hours - waterlogging at the Dhaula Kuan underpass, waterlogging near the Qutub Minar metro station and a part of road caving in near Green Park on Mathura Road. “It had a cumulative affect on the entire road network in the south Delhi and New Delhi areas,” Garg said.

Ongoing construction, poor site management

The ongoing construction of roads and flyover proves the biggest curse for Delhiites whenever it rains. Mounds of debris and earth, kerbstones strewn all over and lack of barricading adds to motorists' problems. “There is no road safety or quality audit. The basics of transport planning and traffic engineering are missing,” observes Rohit Baluja, president, Institute of Road and Traffic Engineering.

Blinking signals

Rain or no rain, most traffic signals in the Capital always appear to be on the blink. And most times, traffic policemen are also missing from the scene, giving a free run to motorists to violate rules and add to the chaos. Traffic joint commissioner Satyendra Garg, however, defends his department. “I agree there were a large number of signals that were not working. But we had mobilised our entire team. There were traffic cops to replace non-functional traffic lights,” Garg said.