Deja Vu? New Year rush clogs Delhi again; nearly 2 lakh gather at CP, India Gate
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Deja Vu? New Year rush clogs Delhi again; nearly 2 lakh gather at CP, India Gate

Looking at the continuously swelling rush by the evening, Delhi Police had to close several radial roads around the India Gate roundabout to stop people from reaching CP.

delhi Updated: Jan 02, 2019 09:29 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
delhi,new year celebrations,India Gate
People gather at India Gate to celebrate the first day of the new year in New Delhi on Tuesday, January 1, 2019. Despite heavy police deployment around C-hexagon, revellers began gathering around India Gate from afternoon and the numbers soared by evening. (Biplov Bhuyan/HT Photo )

Commuters faced a harrowing time on the first day of 2019 as traffic moved at snail’s pace, leading to long jams that lasted for hours in several areas across Delhi.

Vehicular movement started swelling on major roads leading to Connaught Place and India Gate starting Tuesday afternoon. By the evening, police estimate that nearly two lakh revellers had gathered around Connaught Place and India Gate alone. Another 60,000 were estimated to have gathered around the Delhi Zoo and Old Fort.

Security Cover

Despite heavy police deployment around C-hexagon, revellers began gathering around India Gate from afternoon and the numbers soared by evening, the police said.

“We had increased police deployment around the monument to control the crowd and prevent any security breach,” said a senior Delhi Police official.

Apart from traffic and local police personnel, paramilitary forces were also deployed on the stretch to manage the crowd and to check vehicles heading towards India Gate.

Looking at the continuously swelling rush by the evening, Delhi Police had to close several radial roads around the India Gate roundabout to stop people from reaching CP.

Exit from Central Secretariat, Mandi House, Pragati Maidan and Udyog Bhawan Metro stations were closed by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) from 2.50pm till 7.28pm on orders by the police to stop more people from gathering around central Delhi.

Worst-hit Areas

Apart from stretches around central Delhi, jams were also reported near the Rithala Metro station, GPO New Delhi roundabout, at Najafgarh market’s outer road, near Savitri Cinema while going towards Kalkaji Mandir, outside Bangla Sahib Gurdwara and near the Jhandewalan Metro station, police officials said.

Traffic on the route to Kalkaji Mandir from Savitri Cinema was also jammed with the Delhi Traffic Police tweeting that due to heavy turnout of people coming to Kalkaji Mandir, traffic would remain restricted from Chirag Delhi to Kalkaji. At the same time, it also tweeted that traffic would remain restricted around Kashmere Gate, Yamuna Bazaar and Hanuman Setu.

Areas with entertainment hubs and restaurants witnessed the New Year’s rush early. Roads around South Extension, Defence Colony, Khan Market and Vasant Kunj saw slow movement on traffic on Tuesday afternoon. The situation progressively got worse by the evening.

“Though rush around most areas eased by evening, people continued to pour into areas with movie theatres, restaurants, pubs and parks. In such areas, parking was restricted and officials were stationed,” a traffic official said.

Rush Around Religious Places

Traffic police officials said that the rush on the roads shifted from outside religious places such as temples, gurdwaras and churches, in the morning hours to entertainment hubs in the afternoon.

The day began with thousands of people wanting to begin the New Year by visiting religious places and later spend the day with their loved ones at markets and restaurants.

Starting 8am major snarls were reported from outside the Sai Mandir at Lodhi Road due to thousands of devotees at the temple. The rush continued till late afternoon with devotees distributing prasad and lunches to the homeless. Similar rush was also seen outside the Kalkaji Mandir, Chhatarpur Mandir, and temples around Nehru Park in central Delhi.

The roads leading to Bangla Sahib Gurdwara near CP was also choked through from Tuesday morning.

An advisory issued by the department had asked people to resort to public transport instead of using their personal vehicles but it did little to quell the rush around central Delhi.

Last year, on New Year’s, over 2.5 lakh people reportedly gathered around CP and India Gate leading to snarls that lasted hours. Revellers also hit the road making it difficult for traffic to be navigated.

First Published: Jan 02, 2019 09:28 IST