Infamous flooded underpasses make a comeback in Delhi; man drowns in Azadpur | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Infamous flooded underpasses make a comeback in Delhi; man drowns in Azadpur

Jun 29, 2024 06:44 AM IST

Delhi's Minto Bridge underpass flooded after heavy rain, along with several other key underpasses, causing traffic disruptions and a tragic drowning incident.

For two years, the Capital’s Minto Bridge underpass remained mostly dry and gave the list of “waterlogging hot spots” a miss. However, following a torrential rain on Friday morning in the city, the underpass was flooded again. Apart from this, the Pragati Maidan and Mathura Road tunnels, Tilak Bridge railway underpass near ITO, Azad Market, Zakhira, Azadpur and Chatta Rail (behind Red Fort) underpasses in north Delhi, Mehram Nagar underpass leading to Terminal 3 of Delhi airport, and Ashok Nagar underpass in east Delhi were also inundated, with several vehicles being submerged in the flooded areas.

A bus stuck in the Azad Market underpass near Rani Jhansi Flyover in north Delhi on Friday. (ANI)
A bus stuck in the Azad Market underpass near Rani Jhansi Flyover in north Delhi on Friday. (ANI)

An 25-year-old unidentified man drowned in the waterlogged Azadpur underpass in northwest Delhi on Friday, police said. “The man entered the flooded underpass but did not know how to swim,” said deputy commissioner of police (northwest) Jitendra Kumar Meena. “Some people saw the man drowning and tried to save him, but failed. The identity of the dead man is being ascertained,” he added.

Truck, car stuck at Minto Road underpass

At the Minto Road underpass, a truck and a car were stuck in the low-lying waterlogged area as their drivers tried to drive through without realising the depth of the water. The truck driver and another person present inside saved their lives by climbing onto the roof of the vehicle. The car driver was also rescued, a police officer aware of the incident said.

Both carriageways of the Minto Road connecting Connaught Place with Kamla Market and Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Marg, via the railway underpass, were barricaded and closed for traffic soon after the area started flooding. The police installed barricades and deployed personnel near the Minto Road-DDU Marg traffic intersection and the Minto Road-Connaught Place outer circle traffic signal to prevent motorists and pedestrians from using the waterlogged underpass.

Since the traffic had to be diverted, the alternative routes witnessed massive traffic snarls and passengers reaching and exiting the New Delhi railway station were the most affected. The underpass was opened for traffic around 12.30pm, after the rainwater was drained out using pumps, the officer added.

The Delhi Traffic Police also issued a traffic alert on their social media handle, informing that the “traffic was affected on both carriageways of Minto Road due to waterlogging,” and asked commuters to plan their journey accordingly.

The public works department officials said that while at least three pumps were used to drain out water, the water level continued to increase in the morning due to backflow from the sewer lines from where excessive water is drained on the roads at three points.

“Two of our pump houses were completely submerged and water level was rising due to backflow from the adjacent sewer line. Three pumps were used for draining the water and we had more pumps as back-up to use them if required,” said a PWD official on condition of anonymity.

In 2020, a truck driver died at the Minto Bridge underpass after his truck was submerged in rainwater, after which two drains were created for better drainage, which managed to keep the area relatively dry during the last two monsoons.

Private bus submerges at Azad Market underpass, agencies carry rescue op

At the Azad Market underpass, at least 17 passengers, including two women, a child, and an ailing elderly man, were trapped inside a private bus that submerged in the flooded low-lying area with nearly 9-feet water level. Some of them climbed onto the roof of the bus and started screaming for help.

At least 15 fire department officials and some police personnel carried out a three-hour operation to rescue all the trapped passengers.

Batti Lal Meena, station officer of Moti Nagar fire station, who led the rescue operation said, “We reached there with two fire tenders and arranged life-saving jackets and tubes... we swam to the bus and rescued all of them one after the other... All of them were safe. They were from different states and were going to a shrine,” added Meena.

Pragati Maidan and Mathura Road tunnels

According to the traffic police, the Pragati Maidan tunnel connecting C-Hexagon (India Gate circle) with the Ring Road via Purana Quila Road was closed from both sides by placing barricades and stationing personnel soon after rainwater started filling the 1.3-km tunnel due to incessant rain. No vehicles were allowed to use the tunnel and motorists were asked to use alternative routes through the Ring Road and Vikas Marg to reach their destinations. As a result, the traffic volume increased on the alternative routes and it caused bumper-to-bumper traffic throughout Friday. The police also closed both U-turns via the Mathura Road underpass in front of Pragati Maidan due to waterlogging.

Officials from PWD said that the tunnel itself was not flooded by rainwater, but had to be shut because of “forced flooding” from outside. The design and slope of the tunnel is such that rainwater is not supposed to enter it. Officials said that there were two sources of water that flooded the main Pragati Maidan tunnel.

“The entire Bhairon Marg stretch adjacent to the tunnel, a low-lying area, was flooded. The water from the area that houses several VIP bungalows was pumped out and released into the tunnel. Also, the drainage network of the Bharat Mandapam is not ready yet. We were assured that it would be ready by monsoon, but it has not materialised. Water from their basement and parking area was also drained into the tunnel, causing flooding inside. This was the problem last year as well,” said a PWD official.

Other underpasses

The Tilak Bridge underpass was also closed for vehicles after it got submerged in the morning, causing heavy traffic snarls along most of central Delhi areas. Officials said that a drain wall collapsed causing water from the drain to fill up the underpass.

“Water is being drained out using multiple pumps there,” said another PWD official.

Badli underpass was the third to be closed for traffic in the morning hours after it saw heavy waterlogging, making it unsafe for commuters. Officials said that Moolchand, Azadpur, Zakhira and Ashok Nagar underpasses also saw heavy waterlogging but were not closed for vehicular movement. However, traffic alerts during the morning hours asked commuters to opt for alternative routes.

On the other hand, Pul Prahladpur underpass, which was refurbished this year, did not see much waterlogging. In May 2022, a man in his 40s had died by drowning in the underpass that was waterlogged by rainwater.

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