Slow traffic and waterlogged roads are synonymous with the monsoon in Delhi. And there is little hope of the conditions improving this year.
With no lessons learnt from last year, when the early rains caught the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) unaware and affected their desilting deadline, this year too the civic body has managed to complete only 35 per cent of the desilting work. The deadline for desilting is March 31.
“Work is in progress on 504 stormwater drains but work on the remaining drains is yet to start. The MCD commissioner has been holding regular meetings to ensure the remaining work is completed before monsoon,” Deep Mathur, MCD's Director (Press and Information), said.
The civic agency’s assertions that the desilting work will be completed on time, however, sound like a tall promise.
Out of the 1,540 storm water drains that come under its jurisdiction, only 504 drains have been desilted so far with work on another 994 yet to be completed.
According to MCD officials, with more than 60 percent work yet to be completed before the arrival of the monsoon, the deadline might be extended to April 30.The task accomplished so far was made possible after the two much-awaited super sucker machines started functioning a month ago. The special machines, worth Rs 10 crore each, desilt drains at a higher speed.
Last year, the monsoon arrived in May much earlier than anticipated. The budget for desilting stood at Rs. 37.5 crore last year and the civic agency was unable to meet the deadline.
“A lot of money was spent on getting the contractor to do the work. So, this year, the commissioner directed that the work be completed departmentally. This will help us save a lot of money,” a senior MCD official said.
The civic agency had also promised last year that storm water drains will be cleaned round the year so that the desilting process could be completed much before the monsoon arrives.