Gurugram’s answer to rain mayhem: Work from home
According to the authorities, Gurugram received 73.4mm rain in the last 24 hours (till 8.30am on Monday)--the highest recorded rainfall across Haryana on Monday.
Gurugram: Heavy rainfall accompanied by thunderstorms on Monday caused waterlogging in several parts of the city, including the Narsinghpur stretch on the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, eventually leading to the state administration advising private offices to use a popular Covid-19 measure — work from home, or WFH — rather than try to negotiate the city roads.
Traffic congestion was reported from different stretches, prompting the police to deploy at least 2,500 personnel at key locations to manage traffic.
According to the authorities, Gurugram received 73.4mm rain in the last 24 hours (till 8.30am on Monday)--the highest recorded rainfall across Haryana on Monday. Gurugram is expected to receive more rain in the next 24 hours too, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) officials, adding that the western disturbance over the region would shift away from Gurugram in two or three days, but temperature would remain low for the next four or five days.
Waterlogged roads, traffic snarls
The Gurugram traffic police started issuing alerts on social media from 8am, asking commuters to avoid certain stretches due to heavy waterlogging. These include the Signature Tower Road, Iffco Chowk, Sheetla Mata Road, CH Bakhtawar Singh Road, the Sector 21/22 crossing, near Kherki Daula toll, Nathupur, Bilaspur Chowk, Sector 12 Chowk, Mayfield Gardens traffic signal, near Good Earth Mall, below the Guru Dronacharya Metro station, the Mini Secretariat, Hamilton Court Road, Basai Road, Z Chowk near Huda City Centre, Narsinghpur, and Ram Chowk. Areas below the Iffco Chowk flyover and Metro station remained waterlogged till late afternoon.
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The worst-affected stretches were the service lanes of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, between Khandsa and Kherki Daula toll, Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower, Essel Towers on MG Road and Narsinghpur, said police. The service lanes towards Manesar from Rajiv Chowk were also heavily waterlogged and commuters had to rely on the main carriageway. Two underpasses on the Golf Course Road also witnessed waterlogging and it took two hours to drain the accumulated water, said police.
Work from home advisory
Nishant Kumar Yadav, deputy commissioner (DC), Gurugram issued an advisory to private institutions and corporate offices to allow their employees to work from home.
“This will also help civic agencies to take up dewatering and repair works expeditiously. It is advisable that companies should ensure that as many employees as possible work from home in such a situation. This won’t be possible for industries and the manufacturing sector, but should be followed wherever possible,” he said.
The Gurugram traffic police also asked residents to “consider exercising the option to work from home.”
“We do not have that option, but those who do, may consider exercising the option to work from home. Meanwhile, Gurgaon Police is on the roads to assist you,” the department tweeted with images of officials helping commuters stranded in several waterlogged areas.
Commuters stuck; vehicles break down
Amul Kaushik, industrialist, and Sector 45 resident, said that he had lined up a few meetings in the morning, but it took him almost three hours to reach Manesar.
“I got stuck for over an hour at Sector 38 and then at Narsinghpur. By the time I reached people had left and a meeting had to be rescheduled for Tuesday. This happens every year, yet there is no respite from this hassle,” he said.
Shashi Dharan, member, Essel Tower RWA, said that he left home at 9.40am for a meeting at Sohna Road. “I took the Golf Course Road but had to return as there was heavy traffic congestion. Instead, I took the Huda Metro Road. Traffic was pretty snarled there too, so I eventually ended up making a U-turn again. I saw a lot of people struggling to reach their offices and requesting lifts as autorickshaws denied ferrying passengers to waterlogged areas.”
Pedestrians could be seen wading through knee-deep water on several stretches. Two-wheeler riders and cyclists reported injuries after they could not spot potholes on the Golf Course Extension Road, Sushant Lok 3, and Sector 10.
Commuters were stuck for more than an hour at various locations on the expressway. Several vehicles broke down in the middle of roads near Huda City Centre Metro station, Iffco Chowk, Signature Tower, Sector 50, Subash Chowk and Sikanderpur, police said.
Students reach late for board exams
Many students appearing for class 10 and 12 board exams reached their examination centres late.
Sarthak Goswami, a Class 10 student from Sector 10A, travelling to his centre in Sector 14, got delayed after his father’s car broke down in the service lane near Hero Honda Chowk.
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“It took two hours to commute a two-kilometre stretch. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be allowed to write my exam. A traffic policeman gave me a ride on his motorcycle to the centre. I was 15 minutes late and was able to finish my exam on time,” Sarthak said.
Parul Singh, a student of Class 10 from Sector 71, said that her centre was 11 kilometres away from her house, and it took her three hours to reach. “I reached late l, but my teachers allowed me to appear for the exam. Unfortunately, I was left with no time to check my sheet,” she said.
Dharmveer Singh Lochab, father of a Class 10 student from Sector 82, said that they could not reach the centre on time, despite leaving two hours in advance.
Colonel Pratap Singh, president, Haryana Progressive School Conference, and chairman, CCA School, tweeted on Monday morning, urging the CBSE to issue orders to examination centres to be lenient with timings due to waterlogging.
Roads cave in, potholes appear
Ravinder Kumar Tomar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said that vehicular congestion was reported in several areas due to waterlogging and uprooted trees.
“Roads caved in near Iffco Chowk where GMDA had laid pipelines, and near the marble market in Sikanderpur. The drains were clogged, causing severe waterlogging. The volume of traffic was less early morning, allowing teams to remove uprooted trees. We deployed water pumps to clear up roads and ensure smooth flow of traffic, but congestion was reported from many other places,” he said.
Big potholes appeared on several roads, adding to the misery of commuters. The district administration’s road safety committee said that the train worsened the condition of roads which are yet to be repaired.
According to the traffic police, the Golf Course Extension Road, roads in Sushant Lok 2, the road leading to the Sector 56 metro station, roads in Sectors 10, 21, 22, Palam Vihar, Khandsa, and new developing sectors emerged as particularly affected.
Ravinder Kumar Tomar, deputy commissioner of police (traffic), said teams were deployed at all the stretches to guide motorists and avoid potholes.
“Roads caved in near Iffco Chowk where GMDA had laid pipelines, and near the marble market in Sikanderpur,” Tomar said.
“Some motorists met with accidents after they lost control of their vehicles due to potholes on Golf Course Road, Sheetla Mata Road, Sector 10, Sector 37, Dundahera, Badshahpur, Manesar and other areas. The traffic volume on these roads during peak hours is higher than on other roads. Potholes on these stretches created huge problems in managing traffic movement,” said a traffic constable.
Tomar said that they wrote to the MCG, GMDA, and the district commissioner, apprising them of road conditions. “The civic agencies were planning to repair the potholes, with contractors to start work by the end of this month, or by the first week of June,” he said.
DC Yadav said that roads with potholes have been identified,and civic agencies have been asked to repair them at the earliest. “We have asked all the agencies to develop modern roads with table-tops and speed breakers, as required,” he said.
Yadav said the condition of roads will improve within a month as contractors have been assigned tasks.
According to commuters, construction of an elevated corridor has already damaged Sohna Road, with rain exacerbating the situation further.
Roads from Subhash Chowk to Vatika Chowk were also affected.
A senior GMDA official said that road repair work will begin within a week. “These roads need proper blacktopping that will be done soon,” he informed.
Trees, poles uprooted; property damaged
According to Tomar, roads were also blocked by trees that were uprooted in the storm.
“Our teams removed trees, electric poles and billboards lying in the middle of the road. We used electric cutters to remove uprooted trees from Sector 38, Civil Lines, Sushant Lok 1, 2 and other residential areas. The volume of traffic was less early in the morning, allowing teams to remove uprooted trees,” Tomar added.
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Residents reported that trees and poles fell on cars at colonies in Sector 57, Police Lines, Sushant Lok 2, South City 1, Manesar, Palam Vihar, Dundahera, Badshahpur, and Sector 17.
The police control room received over 20 calls regarding damages caused by fallen trees and poles.
Nahal Singh, resident, Sector 17, said that his newly bought car got damaged after a tree fell on it. A resident of Sector 71 said that he was driving back home from Rewari, via the Southern Peripheral Road, when a tree landed on his car.
In Sector 46, trees damaged electric poles due to the thunderstorm. “We were without power since 4am, and electricity supply was restored in the evening,” said Amitabh Kumar, software engineer. Rajkumar Yadav, president Sector 46 RWA, said that more than 20 trees fell in the sector damaging properties.
Narender Singh, fire officer, Sector 29 fire station, said that they received several calls from residents about damaged cars due to uprooted trees. “We sent vehicles to different areas to remove the trees and tried to pull up electric poles which fell on Monday morning. We cleared several roads which were blocked. Damages have been reported from many parts of the city,” he said.
Recurrent peeve: Rains and traffic
According to the district administration and the state government, efforts have been made over the years to ensure that the city never witnesses a Gurujam 2.0. But there is much groundwork left to be done to manage waterlogging.
Waterlogging will pose a far more serious threat when precipitation increases manifold during the upcoming monsoons.
According to officials, only 145 (out of 354) of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s 354 rainwater harvesting pita are currently functional. Since November 2017, the MCG has identified rainwater harvesting pits as a possible measure to mitigate waterlogging, help groundwater table recharging, and conservation.
Residents posted on social media, questioning the role of the district administration and other civil agencies in managing waterlogging every year.
Clogged drains add to woes
Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) shared pictures of roads after clearing water accumulated on the stretches. “The debris which had collected due to the heavy winds had choked the drains blocking the flow of water at different areas. Our teams were deployed to clear waterlogging through tractor mounted pump sets to ensure smooth traffic flow on the stretches,” said Rajesh Bansal, chief engineer, GMDA (infra-2).
Bansal said that there are various initiatives undertaken by the GMDA and other local government bodies to tackle waterlogging.
“Some key locations were brought to our attention where waterlogging occurred today. Plugs installed for ongoing sewage desilting works, and blockage of drain mouths, openings, road gullies and water chutes with debris accumulated by the heavy winds led to the problem. Our teams were on the ground, and as soon as the openings were unclogged, the water cleared off,” he said.
Officials said that DLF has also set-up a dedicated quick response team along with GMDA officials to resolve any waterlogging issues on the Golf Course Road, prone to flooding.
Also read: Delhi-NCR roads inundated after a spell of heavy rain, citizens suffer | In pics
Gearing up for the monsoons
According to MCG officials, monsoon preparedness measures began in March, unlike in 2020 and 2021, when the process commenced in May.
During the two years, only 40-50% of the work was completed by the time monsoons arrived, resulting in large parts of the city witnessing heavy waterlogging.
DC Yadav visited waterlogged areas with teams of the GMDA and MCG. “We have identified the areas and measures will be taken to ensure no drains and sewerage lines are blocked during monsoons. We are coordinating with all stakeholders for better preparations,” he said.