NEW DELHI: The Delhi government remained on high alert even as the irrigation and flood department officials stated that the water level has been receding every hour since Wednesday afternoon.
Over 10,000 people were evacuated to dry areas on Wednesday while the water levels inundated the floodplains. In the past two days, thousands have been moved to makeshift camps built by the Delhi government.
“The flood situation is under control, we have observed a receding trend in the Yamuna water. We are all working together in assessing the situation on hourly basis” said SK Jain, head of Flood and Irrigation department.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi residents can breathe a sigh of relief as the “danger of flood was averted”. “Yamuna water has been decreasing continuously for a few hours. Lesser water is being released from Haryana. Yamuna’s level had reached 206.60. It is now 206.44. We kept an eye on the situation, day and night,” he tweeted in Hindi.
Even though, homes of people in the floodplains are inundated, the construction of embankments since 1978 have prevented areas like Mukherjee Nagar, Kingsway Camp, Delhi University, Adarsh Nagar, Civil Lines, Bela Road, Okhla, Sarai Kale Khan and Maharani Bagh from flooding.To make the city safer, the height of the embankments has been increased and a vast network of sewerage network has been constructed by Delhi governments since 1978.
According the officials, the embankments on both sides of the river which include 20 shanks (concrete structures) and 10 bunds prevent flooding after water from the Hathnikund in Haryana is released.
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Prior to the construction of the right and left marginal embankments, the river used to inundate the trans-Yamuna areas nearly every year. The flooding of the monastery market along Ring Road near Kashmere
Gate was a signal that river water was on the verge of entering the city.
However, experts in the field believe that due to rapid urbanisation the flow of the river is changing.
“Our governments are not properly planning on managing the water situation in Delhi. Unnatural obstructions disturb the flow of the river which causes flooding. The latest project of creating a natural reservoir by removing the top soil, is hardly going to work unless the natural flow is normalised, the drains in Delhi also need to properly de-silted and the catchment area of Yamuna needs to cleared,” said water activist Rajendra Singh.
Kejriwal who visited the tents in Usmanpur area stated that “We are expecting the situation to improve by tomorrow.”
A Northern Railway spokesperson said rail traffic over the old Yamuna bridge (Lohe Wala Pul), temporarily suspended on Tuesday night, was restored at 4.25 pm on Wednesday with speed restriction of 20 kmph.