Traffic moving at a snail’s pace; waterlogged roads making it impossible for pedestrians to walk. These are common sights every monsoon. And it seems this year does not promise to be any different either. The reason: no concrete progress has been made to improve the city’s drainage system.
Nearly seven years have passed since the government decided to draw a masterplan for Delhi’s drainage system, and yet nothing has been done on the ground.In 2005, a committee had been formed to make a master plan for a new drainage system in the city, and there were plans to appoint a consultant who will come up with certain recommendations on overhauling the present system. But to date no consultant has been appointed. However, officials now claim that the proposal to appoint IIT-Delhi as the consultant will soon be tabled in the Cabinet.
“The process of appointing the consultant has already started. We will be sending it to the cabinet for approval. Once it is cleared, the appointment will be made and within a year-and-a-half, it will submit its report. This report will then be implemented by several civic agencies,” said AK Walia, urban development minister. Added a senior government official, “The consultant will tell us the deficiencies in the present drainage system — drains that need to be abolished, areas that need new drains and where the surplus water should be diverted. They will give us remedial suggestions which will be implemented by various civic agencies.”
Most of the drains of the city were constructed more than 30 years ago and though some cosmetic changes have been carried out in the recent past, no major repair work has been done by the civic agencies yet.
Work on the current drainage system had started in 1976 and was completed by 1981. The drainage system of several parts of the city such as north Delhi and Walled City is quite old and needs to be fixed immediately.
What makes the situation worse is that many areas are not even linked to the drainage network. Though an attempt was made by the unified MCD to hire private consultants to restructure the system, the project never took off.
The situation has been aggravated by the fact that 45 per cent of the city households are not connected to the sewer system and most of the sewage — almost 80 per cent — flows directly into storm water drains that do not have the capacity to accommodate the additional load.
Despite cave-in of roads, no preventive steps have been taken.