With barely two days to go for Dhanteras, traffic was thrown out of gear by people thronging markets for last-minute shopping.
Areas such as Nehru Place, Lajpat Nagar, Connuaght Place, Nizamuddin, Ashram, New Friends Colony, Chandni Chowk, ITO, Paharganj, Defence Colony and Bhogal were severely affected.
Traffic moved at snail’s pace, with the traffic police receiving 29 complaints.
“A number of roads were blocked due to a demonstration. Naturally we have to divert traffic in such a scenario, which leads to major traffic chaos,” said S.N. Srivastava, joint commissioner of police (traffic).
With Chandni Chowk main road already choked with Diwali rush, a demonstration by hundreds of Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) safai karamcharis (sanitation staff) led to traffic police cordoning off entry into the area for more than four hours.
The employees were protesting the fact they still hadn’t been paid their bonuses and arrears under the Sixth Pay Commission. The MCD said they have told their workers that 40 per cent of their arrears will be paid before Diwali.
Ripple effects of the protest were felt in areas like ITO, Jama Masjd, Kashmiri Gate, Old Delhi railway stations and Ring Road.
“The traffic situation was really bad in the Walled City. Jams lasted from noon to 4 pm. It affected our business severely as most shoppers come during Diwali to Chandni Chowk,” said Sanjay Bharghav, general secretary of Chandni Chowk Traders Association.
“We had come to shop at Chandni Chowk and had to wait for over an hour to get an auto. There was chaos on the road,” said Sanjiv Singh, a Rajender Nagar resident.
The ordeal was, perhaps, sweetened by the savouries on offer this festive season.