New Delhi: Hundreds of commuters in the National Capital were left stranded for hours on the roads as traffic restrictions were imposed today, a day before the BRICS summit in New Delhi.
Many complained that the traffic restrictions were in place by the afternoon despite earlier announcements by police to enforce the curbs in the evening.
The restrictions were imposed in view of the increased movement of dignitaries and heads of state of Brazil, China, Russia and South Africa arriving in the Indian capital for the summit on Thursday.
"The traffic was moving at a snail's pace on all the roads leading to Taj Palace Hotel, the summit's venue in south Delhi. According to an advisory issued by the police, the traffic was to be restricted only by evening, so I took this route," said Sandeep Jaiswal, a college student.
Tanu Sharma, another commuter, said traffic at Dhaula Kuan in south Delhi was blocked for over two hours for Chinese President Hu Jintao's convoy coming from the Indira Gandhi International airport.
The traffic advisory issued by police said Sardar Patel Marg from Dhaula Kuan to Panchsheel Marg would remain closed for traffic for a few hours Wednesday evening and from 8.30 am till 4 pm on Thursday.
The road is used by commuters coming to central Delhi from western parts of the city and the satellite town of Gurgaon.
Shalini Singh, who lives in Gurgaon and works in Connaught Place in central Delhi, wondered how she would go back home after the road's closure.
"There was so much traffic (on Sardar Patel Marg) already this morning, what will happen if the route is closed... I wonder how I will go back home," said Singh.
Even as traffic police advised commuters to avoid the road and explore alternative routes, the commuters fumed saying it added to their driving time.
"It will simply mean two hours more in my commuting time," said Ashish Khanna, a resident of Dwarka neighbourhood in west Delhi.
The displeasure of commuters reflected on the Facebook page of traffic police.
"So, basically, we should all stay at our homes, because you haven't left any roads!" said Tango Romeo.
A traffic police official said, "We would impose restrictions on several arterial roads in central Delhi and on some roads both the carriage ways will be blocked for easy movement of the foreign dignitaries, as they might visit the president's and the prime minister's houses. We will try to minimise the inconvenience to the public but security considerations have to be kept in mind."
The traffic advisory said the restrictions on major New Delhi roads were expected to affect traffic flow at India Gate and Rajiv Chowk.
"Timely information can save lots of trouble. Please keep these arrangements in mind while travelling in New Delhi areas Wednesday and Thursday," posted Joint Commissioner of Police, Traffic, Satyendra Garg on the Facebook page which has over one lakh followers.
A lot of commuters said they would prefer using the metro.
"I think I will take a metro. It will be crowded, but at least I will reach my destination," said Rajiv Tomar, who lives in Adhchini locality of south Delhi.