Delhi deluge: AAP Minister, L-G engage in war of words over delayed NDRF deployment
Even as the city reels under flood-like situation, L-G and a cabinet minister engage in war of words over handling of crisis
NEW DELHI: Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena criticised AAP minister Saurabh Bhardwaj on Friday, labelling his behaviour as “immature, uninformed, and politically motivated.” said an L-G secretariat source. The rebuke came after Bhardwaj accused bureaucrats of disregarding his pleas for assistance in dealing with the flood situation in the city.
The argument between the two officials took place earlier in the day, with reporters present along with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Minister Atishi. Interrupting the L-G, Bhardwaj claimed that he had asked the city’s Divisional Commissioner, Ashwani Kumar, on Wednesday night to bring in the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to help repair the damaged drain regulator responsible for the flooding in the ITO area.
According to Bhardwaj, his requests were ignored. Expressing gratitude for the eventual arrival of the NDRF, Bhardwaj remarked, “If they had come last night, it would have been better.” The ITO and Rajghat regions experienced severe flooding after a drain regulator near Indraprastha sustained damage. The breakdown of the regulator of drain number 12, close to the WHO building, occurred on Thursday.
The Aam Aadmi Party attributed the delayed response to the recent Delhi ordinance from the Centre, stating, “After the ordinance, the officers now fall under the L-G’s jurisdiction, and they solely obey the L-G. In any other state, these officers would have been fired and imprisoned for disobeying government orders and jeopardising people’s lives.”
Responding to these allegations, a source within the L-G Secretariat reported that L-G VK Saxena urged Bhardwaj to “take his ministerial responsibilities seriously and refrain from immature, uninformed, and politically motivated behavior.”
The L-G accused Bhardwaj of intentionally bringing up the ordinance issue to “prejudice the people.”
Saxena clarified that the damaged drain regulator required engineering solutions and assigned responsibility to the Irrigation and Flood Control Department and the Delhi Jal Board, both under the Delhi government.
Areas under water
- Civil Lines
- Kashmere Gate
- Red Fort
- Monastery Market
- Yamuna Bank
Spell of rainfall adds to woes
Parts of the national capital received light rainfall on Friday afternoon, adding to the woes of the people as the city grapples with a flood-like situation following the overflowing of the Yamuna river. The rain was recorded in Laxmi Nagar areas and a few areas in east Delhi. Other areas, including Lutyens’ Delhi, witnessed a drizzle. The IMD also forecast a generally cloudy sky with light rain in the national capital.