How relentless showers forced Gurgaon to a grinding halt
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Talkin’ to myself and feelin’ old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Nothing to do but frown
Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down. (Carpenters)
It wasn’t exactly a Monday but I felt pretty much down and out, muttering expletives under my breath, ready to quit. Except that I was stuck in an almighty traffic jam on NH 8, just a couple of kilometres away from home. The minutes stretched into hours and the wait seemed endless as the traffic refused to budge an inch. What happened was seemingly the new normal, an hour of relentless rain on a Thursday afternoon wreaked havoc on the roads of Gurgaon. The so-called Millennium City was down and out, crumbling and broken in the face of the fury of the monsoons that left a whole bunch of men, women and schoolchildren returning home stranded.
To add to the woes, India Meteorological Department (IMD) warned on Friday that more heavy rain is on its way. According to the government weather forecaster, Gurgaon will face thunderstorm with rain on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. There is a further possibility of rain on Wednesday and Thursday. Gurgaon received 21% excess rainfall on Thursday and more rainfall followed on Friday.
Traffic was crawling at important junctions, including Sohna Road, Golf Course Road as well as localities around the Huda City Centre, the main metro station that brings thousands of commuters from Gurgaon to Delhi everyday. The main highway NH8 was chock-a-block with heavy water logging.
“It seemed as if we were sitting in a boat, swimming gently in the swirling waters,” said one hapless commuter, who was travelling from his office to home within Gurgaon in an Innova on Thursday. FM Radio was quite the blessing in disguise as many just sat back listening to some rain songs.
Not surprisingly then, the Gurgaon police on Friday morning tweeted, asking people to “avoid coming to Gurgaon to avoid getting stuck in traffic due to flooding of roads”. Confusion reigned as parent groups were discussing on WhatsApp whether to send their wards to school or not. It was further compounded by the fact that the district magistrate announced that all schools in the city would remain closed on 29 and 30 July because of the situation, but there was no official advisory from the respective schools.
The Badshahpur drain in Gurgaon breached, resulting in water overflowing into nearby sectors such as Sector 34, after municipal corporation officials tried to pump excess logged water into the drain on Thursday, Times of India reported.
It doesn’t get any better if you wish to skip the road route to take the metro. For one, it is packed to the gills. But even before you venture into the train, there is the formidable task of getting to the station. A five-minute run to the station on normal days took me a good 45 minutes on a Friday morning. And then there was the arduous task of navigating the waterlogged, dirty, potholed station to stand in the queue that stretched till outside, merging in the growing traffic.
Gurgaon, whose name was recently changed to Gurugram, houses a number of offices, especially of multinational companies, besides swanky malls. With a population of 876,969 (as per Census 2011), thousands of people travel to and from Delhi everyday. People vented their frustration and anger on the government and Delhi police by tweeting.
NH8 at Hero Honda Chowk cleared for heavy vehicles...moving slowly due to flooding on road pic.twitter.com/nuhbtlKSB1— Gurgaon Police (@gurgaonpolice) July 29, 2016