Flood of barbs between BJP and AAP
Saurabh Bharadwaj writes to L-G seeking action against CS. BJP hits back & alleges govt inaction, corruption in last 8 years.
NEW DELHI: Even as the Yamuna water level started receding in the national capital on Saturday — leaving behind stray dogs, cows, bulls and cats to sink or swim — severe political squabbling erupted involving the ruling AAP government in the city, the BJP and senior bureaucrats. The BJP squarely blamed the AAP government, accusing it of mishandling the situation. The party asked Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to apologize to the affected residents.
AAP leader Atishi targeted the BJP-led Haryana government, questioning it for the deliberate release of water towards Delhi from the Hathnikund barrage. Atishi raised concerns over the absence of water diversion to neighbouring states such as Uttar Pradesh and demanded an explanation from the Haryana government.
Delhi Minister Saurabh Bharadwaj wrote to Lieutenant-Governor urging him to take action against chief secretary Naresh Kumar, divisional commissioner Ashwani Kumar, and IFC Secretary Ashish Kundra. Bhardwaj accuses these bureaucrats of intentionally disregarding the directives.
The Central Water Commission (CWC) said the Yamuna level stood at 206.97 metres on Saturday at 5 pm. The forecast is it will dip to 206.72 metres. Ashwani Kumar, the revenue secretary and divisional commissioner of the Delhi government expressed optimism about the declining trend trend.
With the Delhi government under attack over the severe waterlogging, Bharadwaj on Saturday alleged that the crisis was caused by the BJP-led Centre and Haryana government intentionally releasing water towards Delhi.
Haryana Home Minister Anil Vij countered the charge saying, “In our state too water came from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, but we are not blaming anyone.”
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal sought to assure the people that efforts were being made to open all five gates of the Yamuna barrage, some of which are jammed with silt, to aid the drainage of floodwater. “The situation will be normal soon if it doesn’t rain,” Kejriwal said.
In response to the allegations, BJP spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia claimed that the flooding was a direct result of the Kejriwal government’s failure to desilt the Yamuna over the past eight years.
Bhatia criticized AAP for resorting to excuses, corruption, and inaction.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday held a Cabinet meeting and deputed ministers at six flood-affected districts to ensure proper facilities at relief camps set up by the Delhi government. Orders will be issued shortly to officers to report and coordinate and cooperate with ministers to ensure proper facilities such as food, water, toilets, and electricity at flood relief camps, minister for Irrigation and flood control Saurabh Bharadwaj said.
PWD minister Atishi will look after facilities at camps in the North East Delhi district, while Gopal Rai has been deputed for Shahdara, Kailash Gahlot for South East Delhi, and Imran Hussain for the Central Delhi district, he said. Bharadwaj will look after the camps in the East district.
Prior to that, Kejriwal issued an appeal to people not to take selfies or swim in flooded areas as it could be fatal and said the flood threat was not over yet. His appeal came a day after three boys drowned in a ditch while bathing in floodwaters.
Parts of Delhi have been inundated after the Yamuna in the city breached its banks following days of heavy rains in its upper catchment areas, prompting the evacuation of thousands from low-lying areas. After rising continuously for three days, the water level in the Yamuna started receding on Friday.
The water level had come down to 207.48 metres by 10 am on Saturday from its peak of 208.66 metres at 8 pm on Thursday. However, it is still over two metres above the danger mark of 205.33 metres. The breach at the Indraprastha regulator that flooded the area near ITO and parts of Ring Road was sealed.
Delhi Traffic Police has allowed the movement of cars, autorickshaws and other light vehicles on both carriageways of Ring Road from Shanti Van to Geeta Colony. Meanwhile, heavy rain lashed several areas of Delhi on Saturday, causing waterlogging and traffic congestion in the city, parts of which are already reeling from flooding over the past few days.