A clogged drain, destruction of ponds and embankments and poor planning by civic authorities could spell doom for already inundated Gurgaon if predictions of heavy rainfall on Friday come true.
The Millennium city lies in a low-lying region and received water that flows down both from the Aravalli hills and Delhi’s Chhatarpur area.
But repeated encroachments along the main Badshahpur drain and patchy concretisation of drains has ensured that storm water mixed with sewage and flooded Gurgaon’s arterial roads, leaving thousands of commuters marooned.
The situation was particularly bad at Hero Honda chowk, where concretization of the drain in parts amplified the speed and volume of water reaching the area. A smaller second drain – Khandsa – couldn’t clear even a third of the water.
But things might get much worse if the rain doesn’t abate. “The flooding can be more serious and unless encroachments are removed downstream and Khandsa drain widened, there is no solution to this problem,” said Raghuraman, the head of the Millenium City Expressway Private Limited (MCEPL).
“The entire natural drainage of the city has been encroached, and built upon.”
In the first week of July, HT had highlighted how a rainwater management system pioneered by the British using a series of embankments stood destroyed. The rush to build more apartments and commercial complexes ensured water channels, ravines and drains that took away rainwater vanished in the last three decades.
Important embankments at Ghata, Jharsa, Chakkarpur, Nathupur and near Sirhaul toll plaza have all but vanished, forcing water to take the road route.
As Gurgaon saw less-than-average rain in the past few years, the city was saved from a disaster.
Pradeep Kumar, a Superintending engineer with the public health engineering department said the concretisation of drains was a wrong decision and could lead to further problems.
“Water which earlier took 3 to 4 hours to reach the Hero Honda chowk can reach and accumulate here much faster,” he said. It is because of this reason the entire city was flooded and water could not take its natural route and reach Najafgarh drain.
The failure of civic agencies to build an artificial lake and working rainwater harvesting systems compounded the problem. “There were more than 100 ponds in Gurgaon villages. Where are these now? Why are not these revived?” asked Rajiv Singh, a commuter caught in a jam at sector 31.
Raghuraman said strong measures needed to be taken or else Gurgaon could face a flood situation like that in Chennai last year, when scores died and thousands were displaced,
“I am from Chennai and all encroachments were removed, and buildings cleared to ensure water can flow freely out of the city. Such action is needed now”, he added.