NEW DELHI: The Diwali rush led to jams across the city on Friday. Hundreds of commuters were virtually stranded on roads as the jams extended for hours. Most market places remained packed and finding parking space was very difficult.
Tempers ran high as commuters entered wrong carriageways and flouted traffic norms, frustrated with the bumper-to-bumper traffic. The weekend is expected to be equally difficult for commuters as many people will be out to distribute Diwali gifts. Traffic cops have advised Delhiites to use public transport while visiting market places as many motorists had to park illegally due to limited parking options. Many cars were towed away and challans were issued on the spot.
“We tried to minimize traffic congestion with additional deployment. Traffic congestion was maximum at New Delhi where commuters entered the wrong carriageway while coming from Mandi House towards ITO. Traffic from Tilak Marg had to be shut down for half an hour around 6pm to clear the congestion. “Since Diwali rush is expected during the weekend, we are expecting market places to remain crowded. There will be additional deployment during the evening to manage the extra traffic,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg.
Long jams were reported along arterial roads like Ring Road, Outer Ring Road, Vikas Marg, Mathura Road, Aurobindo Road, Bhishma Pitamah Marg, NH-24 and ITO. Major market places like Sarojini Nagar, Karol Bagh, Chandni Chowk, Sadar Bazar, South Extension and Lajpat Nagar were extremely crowded and commuters had to either turn back or remained stuck inside the market for hours.
“There was absolutely no parking space in most market places and we are expecting even more rush during the weekend. Public transport is a much better option for those coming to the markets because finding a place to park your vehicle is next to impossible. We have challaned a huge number of vehicle owners for illegal parking and other traffic violations, especially near the various Diwali melas,” said a senior traffic police officer.
Vehicles parked on the main road added to the traffic mess, especially during peak hours. Spiralling jams continued all over Delhi, especially near Connaught Place, till 9pm.