New push for plan to rid Minto Bridge of flooding
The Delhi government’s plan to develop an independent drainage system under the Minto Road railway bridge, which inundates almost every time the city is battered by a spell of heavy rain, has been delayed by at least six months, senior officials involved in the project said on Tuesday.
The plan has been delayed because at least two tenders floated by the public works department (PWD) to appoint a consultant for the project received a poor response, forcing the agency to call for fresh bids this month.
The Minto bridge underpass lies at the key traffic junction of Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU) Marg and Swami Vivekananda Marg (formerly Minto Road) and leads to Connaught Place on one side and New Delhi station, Old Delhi and Daryaganj on the other.
In July last year, water-logging under the Minto bridge claimed the life of a 56-year-old man whose van got stuck in the flooded underpass. In July 2018, when two Delhi transport corporation (DTC) buses were submerged in the flooded underpass and 10 people had to be rescued, the Delhi high court directed all agencies concerned to coordinate efforts and prepare a plan to prevent such instances in the future. However, a lasting solution is still elusive. Every monsoon, the government deploys high-power pumps in the area to clear rain water.
According to a senior PWD official, the existing drainage system, a deep barrel drain, on the stretch was constructed during the British-era.
“The road stretch that falls under the Minto bridge does not have separate sewage and rainwater drains, unlike most areas in Delhi.A deep barrel drain here doubles up as a sewage and stormwater drain and leads directly to the Yamuna river. Usually, the sewage first flows to a treatment plant before being discharged into the river and the rainwater drains or stormwater drains empties in the river directly,” said the official.
A second official in the department said the problem has been aggravated by the increase in the volume of sewage over the years because of which even during light rains, the Minto bridge underpass is deluged.
If this third tender is successful, the appointed consultant will have to submit the detailed project report (DPR) in three months and will have to provide consultancy service for six months during the execution of the project, stated the tender document seen by HT. The consultant will also have to conduct a topographical survey and do a feasibility study.
“The department floated the first tender for the project on September 21 last year. But, we received only one bidder. The second tender, floated around two months later also met a similar fate. Now, we have floated a fresh e-tender to appoint a consultant who will conduct a feasibility study and prepare a detailed project report (DPR),” said a senior PWD official on condition of anonymity.
“Waterlogging under the Minto Road railway bridge is an almost inevitable monsoon event in the capital. The problem lies in the natural gradient of the land, the heritage bridge that cannot be easily re-engineered, and the larger issue of Delhi’s choked and dysfunctional drainage system. Accordingly, PWD is looking for a modified water drainage system at Minto road during monsoon,” read the tender document.
It further stated that due to low lying areas near Minto road the problem of water logging is persistent during monsoon. “However, since a few years the water-logging problem has increased. PWD wants to do a conditional assessment study of the existing drainage system near Minto road to take further actions to improve the water-logging problem,” the department said.