Traffic in Capital spikes, chaos at borders
The volume of road traffic in the national capital has reported a spike of late, despite the raging coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak, and traffic snarls during rush hour have again become commonplace, much to the inconvenience of commuters.
The burden on road traffic has also increased because Metro Rail services in the national capital region (NCR) have been suspended since end-March in a bid to prevent the spread of the contagion.
Initially, the Delhi government, like other parts of the country, had enforced lockdown restrictions that were in place for over two months to tackle the viral outbreak.
Delhi Traffic Police said the national capital’s borders with neighbouring states such as Uttar Pradesh and Haryana have been reporting massive traffic jams since the phased easing of lockdown restrictions.
Delhi Traffic Police’s data showed that between June 1 and August 20, the Delhi-Noida entry points had seen up to a 12% surge in road traffic volume.
Similarly, there was an 8% uptick in the road traffic between Delhi and Gurugram during the corresponding period.
The police said the worst-affected state borders are Kalindi Kunj, DND flyway and Mayur Vihar phase-3 entry.
Estimates show that in Kalindi Kunj, over the last one month, nearly three lakh daily traffic volume had been recorded during peak rush hours. Before the lockdown (before the route was closed for passenger movement because of the Shaheen Bagh protests), this figure stood at around 1.5 to 2lakh vehicles every day.
The traffic officials attributed the increase in road traffic to private employees, who have started commuting to work.
Besides, commuters have limited public transport options because of the suspended Delhi Metro services. Many office-goers are relying on their private vehicles.
Prior to the lockdown, around 27.5 lakh passengers were availing of the Delhi Metro service daily.
“Delhi Metro had eased traffic bottlenecks on both Delhi-Noida and Delhi-Gurugram borders,” said a Delhi Traffic Police official.
Delhi Traffic Police’s data showed around 5.7 lakh vehicles used to enter the national capital daily from the neighbouring satellite towns such as Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad and Ghaziabad before the lockdown restrictions were imposed.
Many commuters, who have been commuting between Delhi, Noida and Gurugram, have complained of massive traffic snarls, especially during the morning and evening rush hours .
They also blamed the police for traffic mismanagement such as putting up unmanned barricades on arterial stretches in a bid to enforce Covid-19 guidelines that allegedly slowed down the movement of vehicles.
Mridul Despandey, an information technology (IT) consultant, who works in Noida, singled out police barricades placed on the Delhi-Noida Direct (DND) Flyway as the most inconvenient for commuters.
“At a time when traffic is crawling at a snail’s pace, I don’t understand the logic behind placing these barricades on unmanned roads. Earlier, I used to take the Delhi Metro to work. However, since the Delhi Metro service is yet to resume, it takes me over an hour to reach my workplace in Noida from my house in Moti Bagh in south Delhi,” said Despandey.
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