One in every five traffic signals in the Capital is out of order.
Some for petty reasons like fused bulb and burnt wires and few have been rendered useless due to uprooting of poles or cutting of underground cables due to civic work.
The result, however, is common. Chaos and long queue of vehicles, sometimes leading to long traffic snarls.
According to the traffic police’s own figures, 169 of 725 traffic signals across the city weren’t working on Monday.
Senior traffic police officers confirmed that most of these signals are out of order for many days, some for over 3-4 weeks.
Take, for example, the signal on Shankar Road near Ganga Ram Hospital. According to residents, the signal has been out of order for almost a month.
“For first few days, the police managed the traffic especially during morning and evening peak hours. But now even traffic policemen can’t be seen at this important junction,” said Karthikey Batra, a student living in New Rajender Nagar.
“There is utter chaos and a major accident could happen anytime.”
Apart from the signals, there are about 425 blinkers installed on various small roads in the city, most of which are also out of order since many days.
Traffic police helpline receives a number of complaints for faulty traffic signals every day.
“We forward each complaint to the department concerned. But in past few days the backlog of faulty signals has only increased,” said a traffic constable at the helpline requesting anonymity, as he is not authorised to speak to the media.
According to a senior traffic police officer, traffic signals in Delhi are maintained by two companies - CMS and Keltron. While CMS has to take care of over two third traffic signals, Keltron has the remaining one third.
“The performance of both the companies is bad and CMS is even worse. It neither has engineers nor have enough number of technicians. The contract of these two companies is almost over and that is why they have stopped working,” said a senior traffic police officer, requesting anonymity.
Delhi traffic police chief S.N. Shrivastava assured that the condition would start improving within a week.
“We have called fresh tenders to maintain these signals. Four companies have already been short-listed and the contract will be awarded soon,” he said.
Of the four short-listed companies, two are CMS and Keltron.
“This time there is a tough penalty clause in the tender and there is an option of blacklisting companies that don't perform,” added Shrivastava.