Which metropolis is better, Delhi or Mumbai? Neither. Both are in the same boat as we found out on Tuesday evening thanks to a 125.6 mm downpour. In fact, Delhiites got a real taste of that sinking feeling that their counterparts in Mumbai get every monsoon. It had all the drama barring the gigantic tidal waves of the Arabian Sea. But Delhi is not easily bogged down. The numerous SUVs that crowd the roads created enough waves to push the less fortunate in small cars under. However, if you thought that a merry time was had by all, you are seriously mistaken. For the dampener came when the traffic lights stopped working and everyone, including some parliamentarians, was stuck in long queues. But Delhiites, never ones to take such things lying down, immediately swarmed across the service lanes and ensured even bigger traffic jams. So in the melee that ensued, thousands of commuters were all at sea. Why does all this happen with such regularity? No prizes for guessing. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), as customary, had forgotten to desilt at least 1,500 drains.
Once it was evident that everyone’s happiness was washed out, there was some kind of forced sanity. Officials, it seemed, were also waiting for the rains to hold and then ‘swing’ into action. By late evening, Metro stations were flooded, flights had to be diverted to Jaipur and houses were water-logged. The MCD officials, however, were incommunicado. Maybe, they too were swimming to safety somewhere.
In trying situations, a good sense of humour is always useful. At least the MCD chief K.S. Mehra thinks so. The chaos, according to him, was due to ‘unprecedented’ rains and shoddy “desilting work had nothing to do with it”. Yes, Mr Mehra we agree: desilting has nothing to do with rains, it’s just the MCD’s brains which seem a bit clogged.