South Delhi internal roads in bad shape
Several roads in various south Delhi colonies such as Defence Colony, Malviya Nagar, Saket, Green Park and Mehrauli have worn out due to lack of repair and maintenance causing water-logging, accidents and damage to vehicles, residents complained.
Most of these roads are maintained by the municipal corporations. Local councillors said that due to the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, lack of funds and labour roads could not be re-carpeted and potholes repaired ahead of the monsoon.
Residents of Defence Colony D-block said getting vehicles inside during the rains is a nightmare and that there have been frequent accidents. Blocks A and C too have similar uneven roads, which have been patched up at some places.
“The entire stretch gets immersed in water after rain. Pedestrians are always at risk. Many cyclists and those coming for home deliveries of food and grocery get hurt. A few months ago, a child broke his ankle on the road,” said Soni Singh, a resident of D-block.
Major Ranjit Singh (retd), president, Defence Colony RWA, said after repeated letters and requests to senior officers of the civic body as well as political representatives relaying of the stretch has been sanctioned a few days ago. “We have written to the SDMC officials to involve the RWA when the project starts so that we ensure that there are no vehicles parked on the stretch and it’s fully covered. Also, there are other roads that are in bad condition and need to be repaired,” he said.
Local municipal councillor Seema Malik agreed that several road stretches in her ward are in a bad condition. “The stretch in C-block has not been fixed for almost 11 years. Just four days ago, I have got ₹71 lakh sanctioned for improving and strengthening the road. There are many roads in poor condition in C-block and other areas. I am trying to get approval for repairs,” she said.
Councillors in other areas said since the municipal corporations are facing massive funds crunch, several works have got delayed. They said the local area development funds for councillors has also been halved from last year.
Rakhi Jain, a resident of K-block, Saket, said roads in the area have not been repaired for the past seven years. “Patches were repaired some time ago, but it didn’t last more than two to three months. The work was sanctioned and even started in some pockets before assembly elections, but then it got delayed again because of the lockdown,” said Jain, joint secretary of the K-block RWA.
Kishanwati, the AAP councillor from Lado Sarai ward, which includes Saket, said the work of re-laying and repairing roads has been relaunched in many colonies, including Lodo Sarai, Katwaria Sarai and Ber Sarai. “Work has started in parts of Saket as well. It will be done in all blocks. The MLA has helped me with funds for works in my ward,” said Kishanwati.
Residents in nearby Mehrauli are also struggling with poor roads for more than a year and a half. “The Delhi Jal Board had dug up around 20-25 kms of the road for laying water pipeline. Since then it has not been repaired. There have been accidents due to poor roads. Despite several requests, the authorities have done nothing,” said Sandeep Bali, president, Mehrauli RWA.
While officials in the DJB said that the road cutting cost has already been paid to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), civic officials said that they have received only half the funds.
Mehrauli councillor Aarti Singh said, “I have been requesting the area MLA to help with the release of remaining funds, but there has been no response. Also, work has been held up because of lack of labour.”
Mehrauli MLA Naresh Yadav said the cost for cutting roads for laying water and sewer pipelines were given to the civic body even before the elections. “Around ₹20 crores have been deposited with the corporation for the project. The roads are in bad condition and it falls under the civic body. They have failed to use the funds for doing basic road repair work,” said Yadav.
SDMC spokesperson Radha Krishan said, “The work was delayed because of the lockdown and the ongoing restrictions. It is now being taken up on a priority basis in areas where improvement and strengthening of roads was due.”