Record rain drowns Gurugram
City receives highest rain in the past 8 years, underpasses and roads get waterlogged.Updated: Aug 29, 2018 11:59 IST
At 128 mm, Gurugram received the highest rainfall in a day in since 2010, on Tuesday.
The five-hour rain between 4am and 9am left Hero Honda Chowk-Narsinghpur stretch, HUDA City Center junction, St Thomas Marg, sectors 28, 41, 47, South City-1, and Sohna Road, in knee-deep water. The underpasses at Rajiv Chowk and Hero Honda Chowk were rendered unusable as runoff water stood knee-high, and sections of the Golf Course Road, Sector 22 and Signature Tower caved in. No accidents were reported on these stretches.
Though the rainfall recorded was almost three times the rain received on July 28, 2016—when waterlogging caused by 52mm rain brought city and inter-state traffic to a standstill for about 20 hours—city’s various agencies just about managed to prevent a Gurujam re-run as over 2,500 policemen managed traffic and MCG officials pumped out rainwater from inundated underpasses and roads, starting 6am.
Assistant commissioner of police (traffic) Hira Singh said, “Officials were put on ground well before the rush hour to ensure there was minimal effect on movement of traffic. Although roads leading to Rajiv Chowk, Hero Honda Chowk, Sohna Road and HUDA City Centre junction were heavily waterlogged, traffic personnel planned diversions and kept the traffic moving.”
Despite these efforts, a two-kilometre-long jam left the stretch between Narsinghpura and Kherki Daula toll plaza was gridlocked for 30 minutes around 9.30am as three of the four lanes on the Delhi-Jaipur carriageway were inundated. The traffic came to a crawl after water receded, but there was little improvement in the situation till late on Tuesday evening as Narsinghpur-Hero Honda Chowk stretch, and Sohna Road, remained inundated.
V Umashankar, CEO of the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), the nodal agency for preventing waterlogging in the city, admitted that “drainage remains a major concern” but said that the timeliness of response helped keep the situation from becoming as bad as it was in 2016.
“The drainage in Gurugram is still a problem, but we sent out people early to check on the flow of water, and also amped up efforts to manage traffic. However, the NHAI and GMDA could have together done a better job of keeping the underpass at Hero Honda Chowk from flooding. We have a four-hour rule for Hero Honda Chowk, i.e. the agency goes on an alert after four continuous hours of rainfall. However, the four-hour-mark hit around 8.30am, by which time peak hour traffic had begun,” he said.
However, people who were stuck in Gurujam said they feared a repeat of the 2016 logjam when they experienced bumper-to-bumper traffic.
“I left my house around 8am and managed to reach MG Road by 10.15am. All along the way, I could see that the internal roads were waterlogged. But the situation wasn’t as bad as it was in 2016, when residents had had to leave their cars on the road to walk to their destinations. Traffic police officials were present at all major crossings directing traffic,” Abhishek Dayal, a resident of Nirvana Country said.
GMDA officials said water receded from most arterial roads by noon, but internal roads and public parks remained flooded.
MCG commissioner Yashpal Yadav said that in the area under its jurisdiction, waterlogging was experienced in sectors 15, 28, 29 and 39. “In sectors 28 and 29, pumps were installed and water has receded from there. In sector 39, due to a power failure motor pumps was switched on much later. In sector 15, water from the highway was channeled towards the area, work is ongoing to clear water. In all other areas, water has receded,” Yadav said.
Sector 28 residents said waterlogging in the area had left them virtually ‘landlocked’, and that their basements and courtyards were completely flooded. “There was knee-deep water everywhere. It was virtually impossible to get out of the house. On certain roads, water was waist-high. Using vehicles was not an option at all,” Sector 28 resident Vatsal Sinha said.
The waterlogging also hit the public transport as people were not able to avail of services provided by app-based cab aggregators. High demand for cabs and auto-rickshaws meant that hundreds of people were stranded for long hours.
“Cabs are readily available around 8.30am, the peak hour traffic. But today, each cab was at least 35 minutes away. Left with no alternative, I had to hitch a ride with my neighbour to the nearest Metro station,” Sector 47 resident Anand Rungta said.
Deputy commissioner Vinay Pratap Singh said via social media that the district administration “regrets for the trouble residents faced in the morning today.”
“Water has receded from almost all areas and junctions. Hero Honda Chowk and Medanta Underpasses will be drained off by tomorrow morning. We have improved upon our city infrastructure in the last three years, which kept the city running even during the 3-times heavier downpour,” Vinay Pratap Singh said.
The rain uprooted 26 trees in different locations. All of them were removed, police said.
First Published: Aug 29, 2018 00:59 IST