Delhi commuters navigate waterlogged roads for 3rd consecutive day as CM announces measures

PTI, Jul 10, 2023, 8:29 PM IST

Representative Image (source: PTI / File)

New Delhi: Commuters in Delhi reeled under waterlogging for the third consecutive day on Monday with the drainage system overwhelmed by unprecedented rainfall as Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced a slew of measures to tackle the problem.

As pictures and videos of commuters wading through the submerged stretches flooded social media, the chief minister called an emergency meeting of officials from all departments and announced an inquiry into three road cave-in incidents.

”There could be several reasons such as poor quality of the road, or a burst in the pipeline below the road,” he said.

Waterlogging was reported from key stretches including Dhaula Kuan, Okhla underpass, Jangpura, Mundka, Nigam Bodh Ghat, Khirki Extension, Malviya Nagar, Kirti Nagar Industrial Area, Mayur Vihar and Banda Bahadur Marg.

The Pragati maidan tunnel connecting the Ring Road and India Gate remained closed for the second consecutive day, leading to traffic snarls on the nearby alternative routes. The three days of downpour, however, brought relief from the summer heat as mercury settled at 31.4 degree Celsius, four notches below the season’s average.

The national capital recorded 153 mm of rainfall on Saturday and 107 mm of precipitation on till 8.30 am on Monday. Between 8.30 am and 5.30 pm on Monday, 2.9 mm of rainfall was recorded.

According to the Public Works Department (PWD), 48 complaints of waterlogging were received. Some of these were repeated while some pertained to other agencies.

Addressing a press conference on the situation, Kejriwal cited rainfall figures and said it was for the first time in 40 years that Delhi had such severe rainfall.

”The last time it rained as much as this was back in 1982 when there was 169 mm of rainfall in a 24-hour period. So, this is unprecedented rainfall and unfortunately the drainage system in the city is not designed to withstand such extreme rainfall,” he said.

Kejriwal pointed out that in the last couple of years there have been three to four instances when the rainfall was more than 100 mm in a day.

”At that time there were few areas in the city where there was waterlogging, but within 60-90 minutes it was sorted out. Each year when it rains, there are some particular areas in the city that are prone to waterlogging, but within a few hours the problem gets solved. In the last few years, Delhi has been able to deal with rainfall of 100-125 mm,” he said.

Detailing the arrangements in place to mitigate waterlogging, he said 680 PWD drain pumps are working in different parts of the city, alongside 326 temporary pumps and with 100 mobile pumps. The government has also decided to fill potholes on the road that belong to the PWD or the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

”At the moment, we cannot repair them as it is still raining, but we can temporarily fill up these potholes with bricks. Drain bell mouths get often clogged with the litter, so we have asked government staff to ensure they are cleared so water continues to flow through them,” he said.

It was also decided in the meeting to suspend construction work and open the drains around such sites which are generally blocked, he said, adding they requested that more traffic personnel be deployed to monitor the situation.

He said even the New Delhi Municipal Council areas were waterlogged and requested it to study the problem and come up with solutions.

”Our intention is not to blame anyone, but this time the rainfall has been so intense that even the NDMC areas — which are also referred to as the VVIP areas — have been waterlogged very badly,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Delhi Traffic Police said they received calls about traffic congestion, failure of signals, waterlogging, potholes on roads and uprooting of trees.

The Delhi Police received 13 calls related to waterlogging from across the national capital, including the Pragati Maidan Tunnel, Tikri Kalan, Sawaran Park in Mundka, Nigam Bodh Ghat, Boulevard Road in Front of Tis Hazari Court, it added. Incidences of power failure were reported in many parts of the city which resulted in non-functioning of signals, it said.

The traffic control room flashed messages to all police officers to mobilize maximum number of staff, disaster management vehicles and cranes in the field to ensure manual regulation of traffic at intersections where there was no power supply, remove broken down vehicles and uprooted trees to restore normal traffic, it said.

A call related to tree falling at Hemkunt Colony, GK-I and one call related to pothole at Ramdev Chowk to Sabji Mandi carriageway were received, it said.

Messages were also flashed to control rooms of other civic agencies like horticulture departments of NDMC, PWD, MCD.  They were also pressed into for using local resources and manpower and attending to the situation and calls with due alertness, alacrity and promptness, it stated.

The operations at some locations are still going on and services of other departments are also being taken. The tunnel connecting Pragati Maidan to the transit corridor is temporarily closed due to significant waterlogging, the statement said.

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