Rains bring Delhi to a halt, auto driver dies after falling into ditch
New Delhi: Heavy rains lashed Delhi on Friday, leading to waterlogging in several areas, traffic snarls and the death of an autorickshaw driver who fell into a ditch.
Rainwater also entered the Delhi Secretariat premises. A video shared by a Twitter user on the microblogging site showed some people wading through ankle-high water at the Delhi Secretariat with their shoes in their hands.
Delhi Traffic Police took to Twitter to inform people about the waterlogged routes and urged them to plan their journeys accordingly.
A Delhi Fire Services official said an autorickshaw driver died after he fell into a ditch on a waterlogged road in northeast Delhi’s Harsh Vihar.
According to the traffic police, traffic was affected on Phirni Road, Najafgarh due to waterlogging and the breakdown of a bus near Dhansa stand. Traffic was also affected on the route from Rajouri Garden towards Punjabi Bagh due to the breakdown of a bus near the Bharat Darshan Park traffic signal and commuters were advised to avoid this route. The bus was later removed.
Waterlogging also affected traffic in South Extension, Sarai Kale Khan, Lajpat Nagar, ITO, Harsh Vihar, parts of central and outer Delhi, on Mehrauli-Badarpur road and the stretch between Geeta Colony and Akshardham Temple.
A commuter stuck in a jam in Tughlaqabad shared on Twitter a video of a long queue of cars and rued about the absence of traffic police personnel to manage traffic. Incidents of tree falling have also been reported from several parts of the city, including Anand Niketan, Hauz Khas and Okhla.
The maximum temperature was recorded at 34.5 degrees Celsius, three notches below normal, said the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
With three degrees below the normal, the minimum temperature stood at 25 degrees Celsius.
As per the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), five places in Delhi, including Najafgarh, Ranhola and Karawal Nagar, reported waterlogging.
Meanwhile, Delhi registered the highest number of ‘good to moderate’ air quality days this year since 2016, barring COVID-19 affected 2020, the environment ministry said on Friday. “The number of ‘Good to Moderate’ Air Quality Days for the first half-year period (January to June) was 30 in the year 2016; 57 in 2017; 65 in 2018; 78 in 2019; 126 in 2020; 84 in 2021; 54 in 2022; and 101 in the current year 2023,” the ministry said in a statement. During this period, the city also experienced the least number of days with ‘poor to severe’ air quality in 2023, as compared to the corresponding period of last seven years since 2016 (barring 2020 the year of lockdown due to coronavirus).
“The number of ‘Poor to Severe’ Air Quality Days for the first half-year period (January to June) have also been progressively reducing from 147 in 2016 to 80 in 2023,” it said.
The ministry said favourable meteorological conditions and continual efforts at the ground level to prevent, control and abate air pollution in the region resulted in better air quality in the current year.
The ongoing strict monitoring and enforcement actions through various stakeholder agencies lead to better implementation of the air pollution control measures, the ministry added. The average AQI (air quality index) for Delhi during this period also remained in ‘moderate’ category, that is, below 200. Delhi has reported its lowest average AQI during the current year (January June) compared to the corresponding period for the seven years, from 2016 (barring 2020).