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Delhi in deep waters: Despite government SOPs for waterlogging in 2019, much remains unchanged

This year, more than 50 locations have been waterlogged and roads have caved-in at several places in the city.

Published: 23rd July 2020 08:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd July 2020 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

A car moves through waterlogged Delhi-Gurugram Expressway

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: It was another day of waterlogging, traffic jams and chaos in the national capital as monsoon rains continued to wreak havoc for the fouth straight day on Wednesday.

While government and civic bodies quibbled over jurisdiction, only a few hours of showers exposed the unsolved infrastructural problems of Delhi. 

At almost the same time last year, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had held a high-level meeting with all the main authorities along with Chief Secretary Vijay Dev and formulated Delhi’s first ever Flood Control Order - a detailed Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for all the agencies on how to handle drainage congestion on account of heavy raining and flood like situation if Yamuna overflows.

ALSO READ | Delhi rains: PWD installs ‘buzzer’ in pump houses to monitor waterlogging

After similar scenes last year, the CM had directed agencies to communicate and work out the strategy and avoid waterlogging and other issues that put public in discomfort.

But, it seems all the effort has just remained on paper and nothing much has changed on the ground. This year, more than 50 locations have been waterlogged and roads have caved-in at several places in the city.

The Parliament premises also saw waterlogging following heavy monsoon rain

A 29-member apex committee which included CM, all the MPs, cabinet ministers, few MLAs, PWD engineers and others as members was constituded to recommend, supervise and co-ordinate flood control.

As per its mandate, it was to meet every year in the last week of June before the onset of monsoon to formulate a strategy.

ALSO READ | Unsilted PWD drains led to floods, claim Delhi civic bodies

According to sources, this committee has not met once. The Flood Control Order was supposed to bring everything together and lay out a mechanism to avoid drainage problems and waterlogging. 

Last year, the Delhi Police had submitted a list of 277 vulnerable locations, out of which 150 were critical, to the apex committee.

These locations were those which have been waterlogged frequently over the years. These locations were highlighted in the order also. However, it seems nothing has changed.

As per the Flood Control Order, all 11 districts were divided under Sector Committees each headed by a cabinet minister.

These sector officers were to work at micro level and work out plans based on status of roads and vulnerable areas in their jurisdiction. 

Another issue highlighted in the SOP was of situation in unauthorized colonies where proper drainage system is still being developed. MCD is responsible for drainage of stormwater ponds and place pumps in these colonies. 

In addition to this, a mission for urban drainage under the Urban Development Department was constituted in 1995.

This six member committee, headed by an engineer from one of the MCDs, has members from DDA, NDMC, Irrigation and Flood department, Delhi Jal Board and NDMC.

The sole purpose of this mission is to monitor de-silting and tackle the problems in drainage system in the national capital.

“The biggest problem is lack of single authority. Each department blames the other and it’s hard to fix accountability,” said an government official on condition of anonymity.



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