Barricades put up by police and vehicles diverted to alternative routes – part of the security measures introduced in the wake of the nationwide Bandh Bharat to protest against the central government’s Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces – saw vehicles pile up on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway on Monday morning and commuters struggling for nearly two hours to jam. To exit at Sirhal Toll and Shankar Chowk.
According to traffic officials, the traffic jam started at Sirhaul toll plaza around 9.15 am after the Delhi Police barricaded the main carriageway as well as the service lanes of NH-48. There was a traffic jam at Shankar Chowk about 2 km before the Delhi-Gurugram border – as the Gurugram traffic police diverted heavy vehicles (from where?).
At the Delhi-Gurugram border, Delhi Police officials were seen stopping several vehicles, which they suspected had protesters sitting inside. “We have received input from our intelligence wing that miscreants in tractors, buses and private vehicles may enter Delhi and set fire to tires and other untoward incidents. Our personnel deployed at border points check vehicles and arrest many such miscreants. Traffic was disrupted for several hours as similar drives were conducted by our associates in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. By 10.30 am, traffic flow was smooth,” said a senior Delhi Police officer on condition of anonymity.
The traffic was so congested at the two points that there were huge queues of vehicles, about 3 km, from Sirhaul toll to Udyog Vihar and all the way from Shankar Chowk to IFFCO Chowk.
“I was stuck in Cyber City for over 20 minutes, traffic was moving at a snail’s pace. I had to receive my relatives at the airport. Finally, I had to ask them to take a cab. I turned towards Gurugram because of the crowd,” said Kirat Singh, a resident of DLF Phase 4.
Both Gurugram Traffic Police and Delhi Traffic Police warned commuters about congestion and traffic diversions on NH-48 on Sunday evening after Bharat Bandh was called.
Officials of the Gurugram Traffic Police Department and even daily commuters said that the traffic flow on NH-48 was much less than normally expected during the morning rush hour on Monday, possibly due to the warnings issued by the two police departments.
Around 10.30 am, Gurugram Traffic Police, through their official Twitter handle, asked commuters to use alternate routes like Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road, Gurgaon-Faridabad Road and Kundli-Manesar-Palwal (KMP) Expressway to reach their destination. About an hour later, they issued another update informing commuters that all barricades at the border have been removed and traffic is normal.
Gurugram Police Commissioner (Traffic) Ravinder Singh Tomar said Delhi Police removed the barricades around 10.45 am and traffic flow on the expressway was normal by 11.30 am.
“For almost two hours, traffic flow on E-way was affected due to barricading by Delhi Police. Both Gurugram Police and Delhi Police issued an advisory on Sunday warning commuters to avoid NH-48. Moreover, we have been able to manage the traffic situation by diverting heavy vehicles to other parts,” Tomar said.
The DCP added that 1,100 traffic personnel were deployed at places like Shankar Chowk, Givo Cut, Kheri Daula Toll, Dhankot T-point, Garhi Harsaru Chowk and Bajgera to stretch heavy vehicles like KMP, MG Road and Gurgaon. – Faridabad Road and operation till 5 pm as precautionary measure.