Long distance trains came to a halt, roads were waterlogged and commuters stranded for hours in traffic snarls as a long-awaited spell of heavy rain created mayhem in the Indian capital on Thursday. Tall claims by municipal authorities that city drains had been cleaned before the monsoon proved hollow.
However, the metro railway services were not affected. Nor was the air traffic, according to airport officials. They said six to seven flights were delayed by 10 to 15 minutes each, but that was not due to the rains.
The morning rush hour traffic came almost to a standstill in normally busy areas such as Indraprastha Estate, Rajghat, Nizamuddin Bridge, Dhaula Kuan, Delhi Cantonment, Chirag Delhi, Greater Kailash, South Extension, Rajouri Garden and Model Town as the roads were waterlogged.
With most of the Blueline buses still off the road, the water logging multiplied the problems for the residents of the city, who were already facing commuting hardships.
People who commute to and from the satellite townships of Gurgaon and Faridabad had a harrowing time as the new highway and other roads connecting them to Delhi were also largely waterlogged and traffic piled up on the few lanes that were usable.
Seven trains were stranded at the railway crossing near the Yamuna river Thursday morning. Of these, four Rajdhani trains headed to Howrah, Guwahati, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi were stranded on the railway tracks.
The Delhi-Patna Jansadharan Express and the Kashi-Vishwanath Express were also stranded.
"The signalling system in Delhi Sadar has failed due to water logging as they are not automatic. So most of the trains will be delayed by two to three hours. If the rains continue like this, then this situation can happen again," Northern Railways spokesperson A.S. Negi told IANS.
A total of 168.6 mm of rainfall hit the city between Wednesday afternoon and 11.30 a.m. Thursday, and the met office has predicted more rains in the next 48 hours, with residents now wondering if they should have wished for a good monsoon at all.
All over Delhi, harried and delayed commuters could be seen wading through water and dodging through traffic as they were forced to jump out of stranded buses or auto rickshaws and finish the commute on foot.
"I am already late as I had to get down nearly three km ahead of my office," rued an employee of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, who was hurrying to his destination.
The virtual flooding has put grave question marks on the drainage system of Delhi.
"This is the situation in national capital. One downpour and life is halted," said Tariq Ahmed, an employee with an IT company.