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Frequent waterlogging in Delhi forces cabinet reshuffle

Chief secretary Anshu Prakash has also called a meeting of all stakeholders on Wednesday to find a solution to the problem of water logging.

delhi Updated: Jul 18, 2018 09:49 IST
Sweta Goswami
Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi rains,waterlogging,Delhi cabinet
A bus is seen stranded under the Minto road bridge after heavy rainfall in New Delhi on Monday, July 16, 2018.(Sushil Kumar/ HT Photo )

The Delhi government’s irrigation and flood control department – whose role becomes crucial during the monsoon season – has been taken away from labour minister Gopal Rai and allotted to urban development minister Satyendar Jain.

The cabinet rejig comes at a time when Delhi was inundated after a couple of spells of heavy rain over the past few days. The order appointing Jain as the minister of flood and irrigation was issued on Friday — the day 10 passengers had to be rescued from a DTC bus that was submerged under six feet water at the Shivaji Bridge underpass in Connaught Place after a heavy shower.

Chief secretary Anshu Prakash has also called a meeting of all stakeholders on Wednesday to find a solution to the problem of water logging.

The department’s role is vital during monsoons as it has to ensure emergency services such as availability of suction pumps, running the complaint centre and take measures to prevent flooding of the Yamuna river.

“The decision was taken by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. Jain already has portfolios like the public works department (PWD) and urban development, which actively work during monsoon to prevent waterlogging. Having control over the flood control department will help him coordinate with agencies better,” a Delhi government spokesperson said.

Calls and text messages to Rai for a comment went unanswered.

With this minor reshuffle, Satyendar Jain now has the second highest portfolios after deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, who heads with at least nine departments.

Jain will now have seven departments, including health, home, power and industries.

Gopal Rai, who earlier also had transport, now is left with labour, employment and general administration departments. Before this, the cabinet was reshuffled in May last year when transport minister Kailash Gahlot and social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam were inducted into the council of ministers.

Fresh survey

Facing flak from the high court over the government’s failure to prevent water logging in the city, chief secretary Anshu Prakash has called for a high-level meeting of a dozen of stakeholders on Wednesday afternoon.

Detailed mapping of areas across the Capital that are prone to water logging will be taken up as one of the agendas in the meeting, an official on condition of anonymity said.

“It means a new survey will be done and new areas will be identified. Area-specific problems such as waterlogging, which results from rampant construction, and engineering solutions will also be included,” the official said adding all deputy commissioners and engineers will have to conduct regular inspections throughout the season.

First Published: Jul 18, 2018 09:49 IST