'Govt to redesign Delhi’s drainage system': Kejriwal
The Delhi administration will redesign the city’s drainage system and identify more waterlogging hot spots so that area-specific interventions can be made to ensure smooth flow of traffic and people’s safety, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Monday.
The decisions were taken in a monsoon review meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, and attended by the Delhi chief minister, Public Works Department (PWD) minister Satyendar Jain, chief secretary Vijay Dev, and other senior officers from agencies such as the municipal corporations (MCDs), PWD, flood and irrigation department and Delhi Jal Board (DJB).
The announcement by the chief minister came on a day when a man drowned in the submerged Pul Prahladpur underpass -- one of the perennial problem points -- and at least 39 key road stretches were flooded after heavy morning rain. The stretches included Vasant Kunj underpass, Zakhira underpass, Mehruali Badarpur Road, Pul Prahladpur, Dwarka Link Road, Okhla Mandi, Lajpat Nagar Metro station, Adhchini, Spinal Injury Hospital, IP Estate, and others.
Data from the state traffic police shows that at least 96 roads from a list of 150 stretches identified as “waterlogging prone” last month ended up with knee-deep water after showers on Tuesday, the day when monsoon officially arrived in the city albeit 16 days late.
“Delhi, being the national capital, should have the best designed drainage system that unfortunately we do not have. There are a lot of places in Delhi where drains managed by the DJB and the MCDs converge, there is no coordination between them. I would like to suggest that PWD act as the nodal authority and redesign Delhi’s drainage system. If an excellent design is in place and all the agencies can work together on it, then we can implement it. Delhi should have a world-class drainage system,” Kejriwal said.
The last drainage master plan was drafted by the Delhi administration in 1976. To be sure, Delhi was administered by a metropolitan council between 1966 and 1990. In 2016, the Delhi government commissioned a study of the city’s drainage system by IIT-Delhi. Following the study, a drainage master plan was compiled which had also pointed out to the fact that the city had no single agency to manage and maintain drainage. However, the plan could not be implemented.
Kejriwal said once such a system is in place, then the agencies will have to de-silt or clean the main drains only once a year. “Also, the drainage system will be free of liability. So we should work on that prospect. We need to also popularise our grievance helpline numbers with the people of the city,” Kejriwal said.
Senior officials who attended the meeting said Kejriwal praised officers for ensuring proper drainage at the Minto Bridge this year. “I am pleased with the work done by our agencies... In Delhi, it is said if Minto Bridge gets waterlogged, then monsoons have begun in the city. But, this time, Minto Bridge is the talk of the town for all the good reasons,” Kejriwal said.
This year, Delhi government’s PWD identified 147 vulnerable spots that are most prone to waterlogging during the rains. Some of the vulnerable spots identified are Vikas Marg (Karkardooma courts, Laxmi Nagar metro station), Netaji Subhash Marg, Anand, Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, etc.
Asking officials to increase the number of identified flooding hot spots, Kejriwal said, “We know of 147 such vulnerable points. If we conduct extensive mapping, we can enlist all possible vulnerable points. If solutions for all vulnerable points are planned and worked towards like the Minto Bridge, then we can bring Delhi freedom from waterlogging.”
PWD minister Satyendar Jain asked the agencies to be fully prepared as Delhi is likely to receive more rainfall this week. “In the next three days we are going to have excess rainfall, so we need to be fully prepared to handle the situation. We have to be alert during the day, and extra alert during the night. We have over 1,500 pump sets and we should deploy them all,” he said.
Jain directed officers and engineers to be available and alert 24x7 for the next few days.