BJP, AAP lock horns over waterlogging on day one of Delhi assembly session

Updated on Jul 04, 2022 11:57 PM IST

The monsoon session of the Delhi assembly got off to a raucous start on Monday with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) locking horns over the recurring problem of waterlogging during the rains and neither side being able to put forward any solution even after an hour-long discussion

A car wades through the waterlogged road following heavy rainfall, in New Delhi,(ANI Photo)
A car wades through the waterlogged road following heavy rainfall, in New Delhi,(ANI Photo)
By, New Delhi

The monsoon session of the Delhi assembly got off to a raucous start on Monday with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) locking horns over the recurring problem of waterlogging during the rains and neither side being able to put forward any solution even after an hour-long discussion.

The matter was raised by the legislators in the house after Delhi received its first monsoon showers on Thursday, resulting in waterlogging and traffic snarls in several parts of the city, including ITO, the Pul Prahladpur underpass, the Barapullah corridor, the Delhi-Meerut Expressway and Sarai Kale Khan. The situation was so bad that the traffic police had to shut the inundated Pul Prahladpur underpass on the Mehrauli-Badarpur road.

AAP legislators blamed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for the mess and said the civic body was not cleaning drains in its jurisdiction, while the BJP legislators held the public works department (PWD) of the Delhi government responsible for the flooding of roads.

Also read: Delhi rain: Light to moderate showers in west Delhi, NCR likely soon, says IMD

The recently unified MCD is currently being overseen by bureaucrats till a delimitation exercise is carried out and fresh elections are held. Before unification, all three civic bodies -- east, south, and north -- were ruled by the BJP for the past 15 years while the AAP has been ruling Delhi since 2015.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who is also the PWD minister, assured the House that “strict action” will be taken if he finds that any PWD official/contractor had failed to resolve complaints during the monsoon.

“Nearly 2,000 kilometres of drains remain under MCD, PWD and other agencies. There is confusion among people over the jurisdiction of agencies. We cannot justify PWD and MCD in this house. It’s a crime if any agency has claimed to have de-silted a drain without actually doing it. If I come to know that it has happened in the case of PWD drains, action will be taken against the persons responsible,” Sisodia told the assembly.

There are about 2,846 drains in Delhi and their total length is about 3,692km. The PWD manages around 1,100 drains with a total length of 2,050km.

Sisodia said it is also the responsibility of the MCD to clean drains that fall under its jurisdiction to prevent waterlogging. He criticised the changes brought by the Centre through the unification of the civic body. “A very poor system has come up due to unification of the municipal corporations. Earlier, there used to be a director of local bodies (Delhi government) who used to oversee the functioning of the MCDs. But, now, after making some new rules (unifying the MCDs), they (Centre) have abolished that arrangement. Later, the MCD said the assembly cannot even question it (on civic issues),” he said.

Also read: Delhi rain: Traffic glacial as impact of rain spills on to streets

BJP MLA Jitendra Mahajan said it was the PWD which should be held responsible for water-logging as all the major drains are managed by the road agency and they were not cleaned before the rains. “MCD has managed to clean smaller drains even under adverse financial conditions. There is corruption in de-silting of drains (by PWD). There should be a joint committee to ensure proper de-silting of drains and there should be no politics over it,” he said.

BJP legislator Abhay Verma said waterlogging is a major issue and it should not be trivialised by blame games. “Why are only PWD roads waterlogged? The rainwater from smaller drains flows into bigger drains managed by PWD that are clogged and, as a result, water accumulates on roads and underpasses,” Verma said.

AAP’s Kirari MLA Rituraj said there is also rampant silt theft to which Sisoida said action should be taken against any agency or department found involved in the same.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sweta Goswami writes on politics, urban development, transportation, energy and social welfare. Based in Delhi, she tracks government policies and suggests corrections based on public feedback and on-ground implementation through her reports. She has also covered the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) since its inception.

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