John Kerry, US Secretary of State received a humble welcome by Delhi’s monsoon. To add to that, traffic jams also did their bit of work when his motorcade took almost an hour to reach the Taj Mahal hotel from IGI Airport on Monday. US media personnel travelling with Kerry started tweeting about the miserable traffic situation in the city, prompting US and Indian intelligence officials to swiftly analyse the security operation. It became a major security concern.
John Kerry in Delhi: Rain Rain go away?
Plain-clothed men were sent to the ground to form a cover from a distance with an intention of Teen Murti Marg to be cleared on priority. Kerry’s cavalcade was jammed near the Teen Murti crossing as the Shantipath-Teen Murti roundabout was waterlogged. Sources said more than 50 policemen were deployed to make way for the VIP.
However, on the contrary, the police later said that, John Kerry wasn’t stuck in a jam due to waterlogging. “He has been given Z-plus security and traffic on one corridor was cleared from IGI’s technical area to New Delhi. There was traffic jam on adjacent roads due to his movement,” an officer said. Traffic moved at snail’s pace, at Ring Road. “A distance of 5km on the Ring Road in south Delhi took more than an hour-and-a-half to cover ”, commuters said. Adding to commuters’ despair were the traffic restrictions due to VIP movement for the visiting Myanmar President’s trip to Rajghat from Lutyen’s Delhi. “It took me more than two hours just to cross the ITO flyover. I had switched off my car ignition and stood still for nearly an hour during this time,” said Sumit Kumar, an executive with a private company.
Mehrauli, Govindpuri, Chittaranjan Park, Greater Kailash, Adchini and Malviya Nagar are the low-lying areas of South Delhi where the chaos hit. According to a traffic police estimate, the average speed of the city traffic was reduced to 10kmph in the evening.
Sandeep Goel, Special commissioner traffic ,who has been monitoring the traffic situation, said the excess Monday evening traffic led to bigger snarls. Police officers alleged even stretches such as Chanakyapuri, Shanti Path, Tughlaq Road and Teen Murti Marg, which are usually free-moving, were choked.
“I was stuck at Mahadev Road in Lutyens Delhi in almost knee deep. People returning from work had to take off their shoes and socks to wade through the water for nearly 1km to reach Metro stations. Parliament Street too was submerged partially,” said Akansha Chowdhary , who works at an engineering firm in Connaught Place. Areas around Talkatora Road, Ashoka road, Firozshah road and Defence Colony , right up to Moolchand flyover, came to a standstill.