Capital's first monsoon showers have exposed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi's (MCD) inefficiency to handle waterlogging. The civic agency received more than 150 complaints of waterlogging in the past 48 hours alone.
In the deep
The civic agency has decided to further improve monsoon measures by installing 525 portable suction pumps across 12 municipal zones. These are in addition to the existing 107 permanent pumping stations.
Desiliting of drains will be carried out at night too.
MCD already has two super sucker machines to clean the larger drains. It is now in the process of procuring two more at the cost of nearly Rs 2 crore.
MCD is deploying beat officers and mobile diesel suction pumps round-the-clock in all zones to tackle immediate complaints.
For waterlogging and other complaints, MCD would open a 24-hour helpline during the Commonwealth Games.
The MCD, however, claims it has overreached its de-silting targets for the first round and that it is set to handle the rains.
But the statistics speak otherwise. On Tuesday alone, MCD's control room received 55 complaints of waterlogging. The worst-hit areas were Rohini zone and the South zone. Traffic jams were visible across the city, with ongoing construction activities making the situation worse.
Several traffic signals were also out of order creating utter confusion amongst motorists. "Some of the traffic lights were not working due to waterlogging, some due to the restoration work. Restoring traffic lights to order took a little longer than usual today but we had personnel at every place where the lights were not working," said Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Satyendra Garg.
Air passengers, too, had a tough time reaching Delhi airport on Tuesday due to waterlogging on the airport's access roads after heavy rainfall.
The road outside the Indira Gandhi International Airport's domestic arrival terminal was completely flooded, which slowed down vehicles and created traffic snarls. Airport operator Delhi International Airport Ltd. (DIAL) had to use pumps to drain out the water, an exercise that took out a few hours. Water had also seeped inside the low-lying arrival terminal.
The newly constructed Terminal 3 also faced problems after two drains outside the building started overflowing.
In a meeting on Tuesday attended by various civic agencies, the MCD reiterated that no construction activity should damage the drainage system. "Whenever there is a heavy downpour, water takes time to clear out. In many cases, we get blamed for shortcomings of other agencies," said Mayor Prithvi Raj Sawhney said.
The civic body has blamed, Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, BRT and the Public Works Department for damaging the existing drainage system of areas that reported major waterlogging.
"Before monsoons, MCD had installed silt chambers along drains to sieve the silt out at an early stage. While one round of de-silting was completed in February the second got over on June 30. Priority is now being given to the areas where the Games stadiums are located,” Sawhney said.