Delhi rain chaos: Control room opened, labourers trapped by wall collapse, man electrocuted on waterlogged road

Commuters, especially office workers, faced prolonged delays and were often forced to wade through knee-deep water to reach their destinations.
People wade through a waterlogged road near Sarai Kale Khan area after rain, in New Delhi, Friday, June 28, 2024.
People wade through a waterlogged road near Sarai Kale Khan area after rain, in New Delhi, Friday, June 28, 2024.PTI photo

DELHI: Heavy rains wreaked havoc in Delhi on Friday. The collapse of Terminal-1 at Delhi airport claimed one life and injured six people. In southwest Delhi's Vasant Vihar area, at least three laborers were trapped in a mud slush. Meanwhile, MPs took to social media to report their flooded houses.

The heavy downpour paralysed New Delhi, causing extensive disruption and widespread chaos across the capital.

The intense rainfall resulted in significant traffic jams, widespread flooding, and severe waterlogging in numerous low-lying areas.

Commuters, especially office workers, faced prolonged delays and were often forced to wade through knee-deep water to reach their destinations.

In response to the crisis, the Delhi municipality quickly initiated evacuation procedures for thousands of residents in flood-prone zones and rerouted traffic from key arterial roads to manage congestion.

Authorities established 44 relief camps equipped with basic necessities and deployed 27 ambulances along with additional medical teams on standby. To support rescue and relief efforts, 18 teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were mobilized with essential equipment.

L-G VK Saxena ordered a 24x7 emergency control room staffed by senior officials from civic agencies, DDA, irrigation and flood control, PWD, and Delhi Police. Senior officials have been asked to return from leave. Meanwhile, the Irrigation and Flood control department has been asked to regularly be in touch with their counterparts in Haryana and upper reaches of Himachal Pradesh to assess rainfall levels and assess discharges from Hathnikund barrage.

Meanwhile, All 7 Members of Parliament from Delhi have been instructed by the BJP's Delhi state unit leadership to remain on the ground during the monsoon season and ensure that the water is cleared from all roads and areas where there is waterlogging.

Delhi government is setting-up a 24-hour control room at the PWD headquarters to oversee the waterlogging situation. Additionally, the government has launched a WhatsApp chatbot (number: 8130188222) and a helpline (number: 1800110093) for residents to report waterlogging issues effectively.

The government is working to restore the raw water supply from the Wazirabad barrage to Okhla, ensuring the continuity of essential services such as water tankers.

While the heavy rain provided much-needed relief from the oppressive heat by significantly lowering temperatures, it also exposed the inadequacies in the city's infrastructure.

Man electrocuted on waterlogged road

A 39-year-old man was electrocuted while on his way to work Friday morning, after coming in contact with electricity conducted through a waterlogged road during heavy rains in the national capital.

The Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited (DDL), which supplies electricity in the area, said the electrocution was caused by a faulty internal wiring issue at a private shop, which caused current to flow through the shop's tin shed and metal poles.

The responsibility for this lies with the owner or occupant of the shop, the company said in a statement.

The victim, identified as Rajesh Kumar, is survived by his wife and two children, the police said.

According to a police officer, the incident took place on the Mubarakpur Road near Sheesh Mehal Enclave at about 7 am when Kumar was going for work.

It is suspected that he came in contact with electricity conducted through the logged water from a roadside cloth shop, the officer said.

Labourers trapped

At least three-four labourers are feared trapped after an under-construction wall collapsed in southwest Delhi's Vasant Vihar area, officials said .

"Some labourers are suspected to be trapped in the mud slush but the exact numbers are to be ascertained," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Rohit Meena said.

According to a senior Delhi Fire Service officer, they received information about the incident at 5.37 am after which four fire tender-cum-rescue vehicles were immediately dispatched.

"It was an under-construction site where some labourers were sleeping and ground caved-in due to the rains," the officer told The New Indian Express.

He informed that initially divers were sent to enter the muddy area but that attempt did not work out.

Parallely, teams of police, NDRF, DDMA, Civic agencies also reached the spot to assist in the rescue operation.

"There is lots of water and we are trying to flush it out. Efforts are underway to recover them from this under construction basement," the official said.

The flooding highlighted the urgent need for improved drainage systems and better disaster preparedness. Notable areas affected by the flooding included Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence, Connaught Place, Khan Market, and the Teen Murti roundabout. Over 25,000 people were evacuated from these flood-stricken regions, with relief camps set up to provide essential amenities.

As New Delhi works to recover from the aftermath, residents are left dealing with the consequences. While the rains alleviated the extreme heat, they introduced significant hardship and disruption. This ongoing situation underscores the necessity for authorities to implement measures to mitigate the impact of future rainstorms. In the meantime, the city's residents continue to navigate the challenges brought by the heavy rains, hoping for more effective solutions and better days ahead.

Ahead of the monsoon, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) had made tall claims about the city’s preparedness. On June 18, Mayor Shelly Oberoi announced that the MCD had successfully desilted 92 percent of drains deeper than four feet and 85 percent of the shallower ones. However, the reality on the ground tells a different story, with residents in various localities pointing to clogged drains as the major cause of flooding.

“It’s the same story year after year. As soon as we receive heavy rainfall, the drains clog up and the streets turn into a river. I have given up all hope from the authorities,” said Shreya Singhal, a resident of Green Park, an affluent locality that was submerged under water for hours.

Responding to the waterlogged conditions, Mayor Shelly Oberoi said, "The situation is far better than the last time. In a way, this is the first rain of monsoon. All such points have been identified today. All departments and officers are working on the ground, and work is underway at all locations affected by waterlogging. People of Delhi won't face this situation after today."

MPs houses flooded

Several MPs were caught left high and dry due to waterlogging outside their residences.

Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said his entire home was under a foot of water. He also said the carpets and furniture inside his residence were ruined. He took to platform X to share his ordeal. Later he tweeted about receiving a call from the Delhi L-G explaining the situation.

According to Sasi Tharoor, Shri VK Saxena was courteous and responsive, explaining the constraints on effective action due to the division of responsibilities between Union and State Governments. He acknowledged the primary issue of irregular drain clearing and pledged to take all necessary steps before the next major shower. Tharoor commended him as a conscientious civil servant.

The intense rainfall caused trouble for Samajwadi Party MP Ram Gopal Yadav as the road outside his bungalow in the Lodhi Estate area flooded. A video from news agency ANI showed Yadav's staff lifting him on their shoulders to his vehicle. "I had to do all this to go to Parliament. We came out in a car, then people lifted us to the car," he told ANI. Yadav lamented that his entire bungalow was flooded just two days after getting new flooring, resulting in losses amounting to lakhs. Criticizing the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, he said he had been in contact with officials since 4 am, urging them to bring a pump to clear the water.

Delhi Water Minister Atishi's residence was submerged in severe flooding, as visuals showed outside the AAP leader's home. Atishi recently undertook a hunger strike over water scarcity in Delhi.

(With inputs from agencies)

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