National Capital rings in New Year with verve

National Capital rings in New Year with verve

National Capital rings in New Year with verve

Revellers braved chilly weather on Wednesday to usher in the New Year, as malls and commercial hubs in the heart of city, including Connaught Place, remained abuzz throughout the day.

Besides Connaught Place, India Gate lawns and malls were the preferred points of celebrations for Delhiites, who set off crackers, burst balloons and hugged each other as the clock struck 12.

Chants of “Happy New Year” rang through the air as the revellers wished friends and strangers alike in Connaught Place, which was converted into a pedestrian zone after 8 pm, with even arterial roads leading to the place blocked.

The Delhi Traffic Police put up 85 barricades to check drunk-driving. Security checks were intensified in light of the recent explosion in Bengaluru and a shadow of terror over New Year celebrations in the national capital.

“We walked a kilometre after parking our vehicle near Bangla Sahib Gurdwara,” said software engineer Sumit Chowdhary, who wanted to welcome the New Year with his friends in Connaught Place.

Many buildings in the area and malls in south Delhi were illuminated for the occasion. Restaurants and hotels offered special deals for the occasion.

Delhi Metro, the city’s lifeline, shut entry gates of its station at Connaught Place at 9 pm, while continuing train-changing facility. “The Metro should have kept the public sentiments in mind and allowed the Connaught Place station to remain open till late,” said public relations professional Darpan Singh, who had walked a long distance to reach a Metro station after celebrations.

A Delhi Metro official said the footfall at its stations during peak hours was more than the daily average due to the movement of New Year revellers and festivities across the city.

The festivities at India Gate were equally frenetic. “The police stopped our vehicles, but we walked. We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to celebrate in the lawns,” said Vasant Kunj-resident Rohit Vaid, who had come to central Delhi with his friends.

The pickets on some roads leading to central Delhi caused traffic jams in the evening on roads like Panchkuian Road, Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Minto Road and Janpath.
“The special traffic arrangement for New Year’s Eve had been publicised, but people are questioning us nevertheless on why the diversions have been enforced,” said a policeman near R K Ashram Metro station.