Driving on Delhi roads just seems to get more painful. While motorists have always had an eye-out for potholes, they will now, during monsoons, have to keep a watch on road cave-ins, too.
These cave-ins not only bring traffic to a standstill, but also become put added financial pressure on civic agencies.
In the past two years, there have been 100 instances of roads caving in during the monsoon. And the incidents are most likely to continue this year, as authorities have been unable to take any concrete measures to prevent them.
According to the three civic corporations and the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), most Delhi roads have been constructed over water pipelines. The concrete covering of these pipelines get corroded over time, and lead to leakages.
During monsoon, the leakages increase and roads start to collapse.
"The underground water pipes are very old, and it is impossible to find out beforehand, where the leakages may occur. Currently, there is no mechanism in place that can help avoid such situations," said an NDMC official.
Even the NDMC area, which is known for its VIP addresses, has witnessed at least 12 cases of cave-ins in the last two years on roads such as KG Marg, Asoka Road, Khan Market and others.
Trench-less technology is being blamed for the cave-ins in the area. As part of the technology, cables and pipes are installed under the ground without digging up roads. The engineers performing the job, however, do not take into account the network of sewage and water pipes running under the roads. While boring the ground, they puncture pipes, leakages from which cause cave-ins.
In other Delhi areas, where drains are very old, the ground under some spots becomes loose and sinks after rain.
"At least 90% of roads in colonies have been constructed over a water or sewerage pipeline. Over a period of time, due to constant corrosion of the pipe or due to the alignment of pipelines, the covering layer of the pipeline gets worn out leading to leakages. These leakages, overtime, result in roads caving in," said an official of the South Delhi Municipal Council (SDMC).
Frequent cave-ins burn a hole in the pockets of civic agencies. On an average, civic agencies spend Rs. 5-20 lakh on carrying out repair work.