It rained for just a couple of hours. But it was enough to bring Delhi to its knees. Again.
Roads were choked with waterlogged drains and traffic remained bumper to bumper even on the widest of roads.
There were new additions to the already familiar woes. Roads caved in at certain construction sites of Delhi Metro, and the roof of a newly-inaugurated terminal building of the Indira Gandhi International airport collapsed.
This was only the third day when it rained some sizeable amount — 74 mm with a squall of 90 kmph — in this particularly parched monsoon season.
All the three days (126 mm on July 28 and 43.8 mm on August 11 being the other two days), Delhi paid a heavy price.
And all those responsible for the debacle on the ground passed the buck.
The roof of the airport’s Terminal 1D collapsed. This is a one-month old, sophisticated building built with Rs 500 crore. Officials said the rain was heavy enough to cause such damage.
“Rain and high wind velocity caused the sheets of the roof to come off,” Andrew Harrison, CEO of Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) simply said.
“We could see the sky,” said Tripti Basu (39), a passenger awaiting a flight at Terminal 1D. “We thought the whole building would collapse.”
“If Terminal 1B building, which is a World War-II vintage, is still standing after about 70 years of hail, storm and rain, how can a new building get damaged so easily?” said an airport official who did not wish to be named.
Delhi Metro’s construction sites were a mess across the city, showing poor site management. At Raisina Hill, the road caved in to form a deep crater.
Situation was so bad near Race Course Road that personnel of the Special Protection Group were manning traffic.
This, when the Public Works Department spends Rs 5 crore every year on road infrastructure and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi allocates Rs 20 crore of taxpayers’ money to tackle waterlogging.
“The opening of the drains can take only a certain amount of water at a time,” said KS Mehra, MCD Commissioner.