Rains wash away Delhi`s `world-class` claim

Last Updated: Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 09:22

New Delhi: Notwithstanding Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit`s claim of making Delhi a world-class city, 90 minutes of rain can cause havoc on the roads even as agencies
concerned keep passing the buck for the mess.

Heavy rains this week exposed the vulnerabilities of Delhi in the form of widespread waterlogging and traffic jams, virtually bringing to halt the capital which is bracing to
host the Commonwealth Games in just over two months.

Despite waterlogging being a repeated feature in Delhi every monsoon season, various civic agencies and authorities are yet to act effectively to tackle it and are mostly seen
passing the buck to each other.

Delhi`s Congress government says it is the responsibility of BJP-controlled municipal corporation and its lack of preparation that is causing waterlogging and other related

"It is the responsibility of the MCD to ensure proper drainage across the city but they never do their job properly," said PWD Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan.

Dikshit, who had been at the helm of affairs in Delhi for the last 12 years, also sought to put the onus on MCD and said she had instructed the agencies concerned to improve the
drainage system.

The CM has been repeatedly saying that she intends to make Delhi a world-class city.

The civic agency, in turn, tried to put the blame for waterlogging on agencies like the Public Works Department, saying the drains under its jurisdiction were not cleaned as a
result of which the mess occurred.

Dikshit said water-logging took place at several areas this year as construction waste blocked the drains.

When asked for his comment on the issue, Mayor Prithvi Raj Sawhney said, "Many roads which witnessed waterlogging belonged to PWD. While the MCD has completed all de-silting work, the PWD failed to de-silt some drains under it. We have repeatedly attracted the attention of Chauhan to the issue."

He said the MCD will also take remedial measures wherever needed.

"A number of points where waterlogging took place did not lie within the jurisdiction of MCD," Sawhney said adding, the multiplicity of authorities is also making it tougher to
tackle the problem.

Senior MCD officials say the huge amount of construction waste lying on roads due to Games project works is posing a problem, preventing rainwater to flow to the drains and
sometimes choking the drains.

Delhi Urban Arts Commission Chairman and town planning expert KT Ravindran says the city has a faulty drainage system, which is not in accordance with the land profile or
land slopes.

"This year, the problem has been compounded by excessive concretisation, especially due to construction works for the Games. Rainwater is not seeping into the ground and there is accumulation of water," he said.

MCD Commissioner KS Mehra feels the key to the solution is a comprehensive multi-agency drainage action plan for the city. "The problem cannot be fully solved without this," he said, adding inter-agency coordination to identify and work on causes resulting in waterlogging is most important.

Officials in PWD said the agency was also putting a lot of efforts to ensure that the drainage system works better though they insisted that it was the responsibility of the
MCD to desilt the choked drains.

Ravindran said the proposal on multi-agency action plan should have been there at least five years ago. "Why are they talking about it now? They should have sat together and discussed it long ago," he said.


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First Published: Sunday, July 18, 2010 - 09:22

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