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Migraine-inducing traffic snarls in Delhi NCR ahead of Diwali affect supply chains

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For someone who travels a lot on the Delhi to Gurugram route, I am not a stranger to traffic snarls. In fact, what surprises me is when I don’t find a congestion on the entire route! But a couple of days back while travelling to Delhi, what I thought would be a regular 16 minute congestion on a certain stretch on the route, turned out to be a mind-boggling 45 minute torture – 45 minutes for barely 7 km. It took me almost 3 hours to cover a distance that usually takes 45 minutes on a regular basis.

Okay, keeping my tirade aside, I did see a few pickup trucks from well-known logistics companies, stuck in that traffic with me. And I could immediately connect to them on a different level!

Diwali means fun and frolic – food, shopping and visiting friends & family – but to make our festivities a success, there are heroes on middle and last mile delivery duties, for whom these few days mean long work hours and endless slogging on the roads.

The festive fervour, amped up security checks ahead of Diwali, the usual pre-weekend frenzy and beefed up security for 90th Annual General Assembly of Interpol (held in the Capital), combined together to give Delhi a major traffic headache, with unending snarls doubling travel times on some key stretches and keeping commuters stuck on the road. And this isn’t the story of a single day. It has been like this for the entire week.

Another ‘not so good’ news, it may get worse on Dhanteras as apart from arterial roads and highways, those connecting the internal parts of Delhi NCR will also be thronged with vehicles, as people visit markets and relatives. So much for Diwali parties!

In such a situation, the logistics network in seriously impacted – especially for e-commerce and food delivery companies. While the festive mood it at its peak, delays in delivery of ‘bundles of joy’ (as I like to call them) surely dampens the spirit – not just for those purchasing, but also for those selling. It isn’t an unfamiliar feeling when Swiggy says order is delayed by 45 minutes, or when Myntra tells that your shipment will take an extra day (or a couple of days) to reach you.

For e-commerce companies and logistics aggregators who have put in much efforts to ensure timely procurement and processing of orders, it becomes a nightmare when their investment as well as efforts are muffled due to something as minor as a traffic jam.

In Delhi, major snarls were reported at the Delhi-Gurugram border, on Lala Lajpat Rai Road (towards New Delhi), the Ashram intersection, Delhi-Jaipur Expressway (near the airport), the Delhi-Noida Direct flyway, Noida Link Road, Mathura Road, as well as areas around India Gate. Traffic on most roads moved significantly slower than usual. Most roads in the city appeared as deep red streaks on major online monitoring services, including Google Maps and the TomTom live traffic index. Delhi has also been put on high-alert in view of inputs received regarding potential security threats, with checks intensified at crowded public places and along the city’s borders.

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