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Moan soon

Aspiring to be a world city? Why not just start with some basic monsoon management, writes Sonal Srivastava.

india Updated: Jul 16, 2006 14:12 IST

So, you can’t wait to go dancing in the rain? But before you do that, just give a thought to what you may have to bear in the bargain — water-filled pot hol es, roads turned into rivulets, traffic jams,... just the image of Delhi we would want to project for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, right?

Water logging and traffic jams are just another face of the season that has inspired musicians and poets over aeons. Every time there is shower, the city almost comes to a halt and even a snail moves faster than a Maruti 800. Moreover, the muck in the drains finds its way on the roads, perennial potholes on the roads turn into lunar craters, and the worst — the horror show is repeated every year along with the government’s promise that it won’t happen again. So, is it a wannabe world city that we live in?

Dirty world city

Anil Prakash, director in chief of the Environment and Management Services department (earlier CSE) says, “The problems arise due to several reasons — bad roads, low-lying areas near roads, left-over building material, and people’s apathy who throw garbage on the roads. We are inspecting the vulnerable points in preparation for the monsoon.” That’s an explanation, but someone has to fix the problem. DJ Sunny Sarid feels it’s all due to “lack of political will and accountability. Some body will have to take responsibility for bad governance.”

Passing the parcel

We can spend the entire monsoon wondering why rains leave us filthy because the never-ending water logging as a problem is handled by a multiplicity of agencies. Says Deep Mathur, director of press and information, MCD, “MCD manages almost 96 per cent of the city. Some of the drains are maintained by other agencies like NDMC, etc.

A large number of roads don’t come under the jurisdiction of MCD. Some co-ordination is required to solve the problem.” Just like water-logging, the problems related to traffic jams are also handled by several agencies. Says HPS Virk, DCP (Traffic), northern range: “We have sent letters to the agencies that maintain roads, asking them to gear up for the season ahead.

As for traffic lights, we’ve two electricity agencies to cater to the needs.” But often traffic lights fail due to short circuit or are shut down during heavy rains to avoid mishap.

However, other real world cities too have traffic lights and they too get their share of rain, but unlike Delhi, they don’t have open wiring. Model/ emcee Manpreet Brar Walia feels, “If the taxpayers’ money is meant for infrastructure, then it should be used to survive the monsoon.”

Miles to go

We still don’t have an answer to how will we fare this monsoon. Babudom tries its hand. Says Mathur, “MCD has set up control rooms. They are functioning in the 12 zones. Citizens can lodge complaints about open manholes. De-silting has been done in most of the drains.”

Control rooms, de-silting... lofty terms, only that they just don’t help us reach office on time even when it doesn’t rain like Cherrapunji here.