Life was limping back to normalcy in Gurgaon on Friday evening after a massive traffic jam triggered by waterlogging brought the Millennium City to a standstill in the morning.
Repeated spells of rain coupled with knee-deep water on National Highway-8 left thousands of commuters stranded in Gurgaon, with police asking Delhi residents to avoid venturing into the IT hub. The traffic nightmare began Thursday after heavy evening downpour hit commuters.
Officials said the traffic at Hero Honda Chowk was cleared by 11am. The Badshahpur crossing on Sohna road was cleared by noon. Vehicles, however, crawled due to flooding on the road. A Gurgaon police spokesperson said normalcy was restored on almost all roads by 2pm.
Here are the key things you need to know about the Gurgaon rain mess.
Long tailbacks were witnessed in Gurgaon for the second day. Many motorists abandoned their vehicles and waded through water, with the gridlocks extending up to 15-20km. Some MNCs declared a day off, as their vehicles that pick and drop employees were stranded in traffic.
Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu said waterlogging and non-functioning of certain drains were behind the massive traffic snarls. “Governments are attending to clear those drains at the earliest,” he said.
Hero Honda Chowk at present pic.twitter.com/YA6kstmtAf— Gurgaon Police (@gurgaonpolice) July 29, 2016
Gurgaon deputy commissioner TL Satyaprakash imposed executive orders in Gurgaon asking all government officials to be on the ground. “Considering the unprecedented rainfall and the flow of huge volume of water due to downward gradient from Delhi towards Gurgaon, prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the CRPC has been imposed near Hero Honda Chowk in the city,” he said.
Inside Gurgaon, the worst-affected areas were Sushant Lok Phase-1, DLF City, Sohna Road, Golf Course Road, IFFCO Chowk, Old Delhi Road, Sheetla Mata Road, sectors 15, 31, 44 and 46 and the Civil Lines area.
The Haryana government declared a two-day holiday (July 29 and 30) in Gurgaon schools. But the late-morning announcement led to confusion, as many school buses were on the road ferrying children. “Why didn’t the administration decide on Thursday about the holiday? It seems lack of good governance,” said Shivam Vij, a father waiting with his children on a waterlogged road in Sector 10-A market.
Rivals hit out
Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia attacked the Bharatiya Janata Party government over the snarls, saying merely renaming Gurgaon to Gurugram won’t ensure development. “Glib talk won’t help in unclogging traffic jams,” he said after traffic jams created an uproar on social media.
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal too attacked the Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana, saying: “That’s BJP Governance”.
In a series of tweets, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala blamed the government for “destroying Gurgaon”. “Complete breakdown of governance in Gurgaon has led to this situation. People slept in cars and left vehicles on roads and walked home,” Surjewala told Hindustan Times.
Centre on alert
Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari spoke to the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) chief, Raghav Chandra, and directed him to send a team of senior officials to Gurgaon. Chandra was also told to take necessary steps in coordination with state authorities.
Urban development minister Naidu spoke to Khattar. “I just spoke to the Haryana CM and told him that this is an important city and international focus...is on it. All steps should be taken to clear the jams, and they are on the job. The state administration is attending the problems on an emergency basis,” Naidu told reporters outside Parliament.
Road federation concerned
The International Road Federation (IRF) expressed deep concerns and called for concerted efforts, both long-term and short-term.
“Due to almost non-functioning of storm water drains and inadequate sewage system, Gurgaon roads get water-logged each monsoon resulting in potholes, sometimes moon craters. Water accumulates at unexpected places spelling danger for both motorists and pedestrians,” IRF chairperson KK Kapila said.
All hands on deck
A company each of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and the India Reserve Battalion (IRB) were rushed to regulate traffic, especially on the NH-8. Also, 250 home guards were pressed into service.
Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteers jumped into action to assist police. The municipal corporation distributed food among the stranded people at Hero Honda Chowk.
(With agency inputs)