Intense 3-hour rain spell brings Delhi to a grinding halt yet again
Traffic slowed to a crawl, several commuters were stranded on the roads, power lines were shut, at least seven houses were damaged, and a wall at a Metro station collapsed, as the national capital struggled to deal with an intense spell of rain yet again on Saturday.
In what was a rerun of most of the city’s rainy days during the monsoon this year, a sharp three-hour spell of rain spared few parts of the Capital, leaving homes, shops, marketplaces, and commuters to deal with the aftermath of the shower over the rest of the day.
Delhi traffic police said that Saturday’s rain resulted in several arterial stretches getting inundated, and underpasses were hit hardest, with many shut throughout the day, exacerbating snarls throughout the city.
The police said underpasses at Azadpur, Dwarka Link Road, Rani Khera and Pul Prahladpur were closed for traffic and vehicles diverted.
“Most of the rain was in the morning, but its impact was seen on the roads through the day. Many roads and underpasses had to be barricaded and diversions put in place till the water levels in many areas came to safe levels,” said a senior traffic police official.
Moti Bagh crossing, Malviya Nagar, Dwarka Link Road, Dhaula Kuan, Sardar Patel Marg, Uttam Nagar intersection, GT Karnal Road, Mukarba Chowk, Pragati Maidan and Hauz Khas (Outer Ring Road), were among the stretches worst affected on Saturday, said police officers.
Senior fire department officials on Saturday said that the control room received three calls reporting people trapped in vehicles that were stuck on waterlogged roads or underpasses.
The department rescued at least 59 people, trapped in four separate vehicles, officials said.
Delhi Fire Services (DFS) chief Atul Garg said that around 11.30am, a private bus, carrying 40 passengers, was stuck in the waterlogged Palam Flyover underpass. Passengers were later rescued by two fire tenders and DFS teams.
A tempo and a truck were also trapped at Mundka underpass.
At least seven house collapses were reported from Jama Masjid, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, Nabi Karim, Burari, Rohini and Mayur Vihar Phase 3 said the fire chief.
South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) officials said that a majority of the complaints received on Saturday were from individuals and resident groups reporting water inside their houses or in complexes.
“Of the 35 complaints of waterlogging we received till Saturday afternoon, 27 were regarding individual houses or residential societies getting flooded,” a senior SDMC official said.
In many areas, residents said the power supply was shut off for several hours, till water was pumped out of the complexes.
Discom teams were on high alert to take care of exigencies due to the rain, and even put preventive shutdowns in place in a few areas, officials said. These included parts of Hastsal, Aya Nagar, Uttam Nagar, Bijwasan, Johri Farm, Mahaveer Nagar, Seelampur, Chandi Mahal, Model Town, Vijay Nagar, Mukherjee Nagar, Azadpur Mandi and Peeragarh.
Resident groups said the city’s situation during sharp spells of rain highlighted the apathy of the city’s civic agencies.
“IIT-Delhi submitted its final report on the city’s Drainage Master Plan in 2018. Why has the implementation process not started even after three years? This could have saved the residents from these regular waterlogging woes,” said BS Vohra, president of Federation of East Delhi RWAs.
The rain also led to a portion of a wall at Dwarka Metro station on the Blue Line collapsing.
“The said Metro gate was closed and regular passenger movement resumed from other gates. No one was hurt,” a senior Delhi Metro official said.
State Public Works Department officials said the roads were blocked due to the rainfall, but efforts were made to pump out the water as soon as possible. However, they said this took longer than usual due to the continuous rainfall.
Delhi government spokespersons did not respond to requests for comment.
Experts stressed that with the climate crisis causing increased episodes of intense rain spells, the city’s authorities need to redraw their plans to tackle flash floods and urban flooding.
“Understandably, when it rains over 100mm in a matter of two or three hours, there will be instances of urban flooding. These are impacts of climate change and these episodes will only increase in the future, so we need to prepare,” said Mahesh Palawat, vice-president (meteorology and climate change), Skymet Weather Services.