For these men, the busiest time of the year is the monsoon season. As soon as it rains, they rush to their workplace to switch on water pumps to ensure rainwater does not clog the roads and gets collected in underground tanks and later drained out.
These 200-odd men - known as pump operators - work night and day. And any delay on their part can lead to massive waterlogging, and traffic snarls.
The pump operators stay inside the pumping station throughout the day, waiting for it to rain. Most of them are contractual employees.
“We have a place to sit and sleep inside the station and work in shifts. The moment it rains, we switch on the pumps and keep communicating with a person deployed near the underground tank to make sure the water is reaching there. The water is collected in the tanks and then drained out into bigger drains,” said Bhola, a pump operator at the storm water pumping station underneath the Moolchand underpass.
Most of these stations are located at 157 vulnerable spots, which are prone to waterlogging. A number of them cater to underpasses where there is no natural gradient and if water is not pumped out, the underpass will be flooded.
Some of these stations are also located at busy stretches such as ITO, Tilak Bridge, Moolchand, Dhaula Kuan and Dwarka, among others.
Generators have been installed at these pumping stations, so that if power supply goes off due to storm or rain, the station can still function.