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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

As monsoon nears, NHAI raises concerns over blocked culverts

The NHAI said that blockage of these culverts had badly affected the entire drainage system of the highway in Gurugram and it could have a damaging impact on the entire exercise to prevent waterlogging during monsoon.

gurgaon Updated: Jun 28, 2019 07:57 IST
Abhishek Behl
Abhishek Behl
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Although several steps have been taken by multiple local agencies, there is still apprehension that things could go wrong if there is heavy rain.
Although several steps have been taken by multiple local agencies, there is still apprehension that things could go wrong if there is heavy rain.(Parveen Kumar/Hindustan Times)
         

Even as the district administration on Tuesday said that capacity of Badshahpur drain at Khandsa has been increased to check waterlogging at Hero Honda Chowk, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has raised concerns over the blocking of several culverts along the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway due to encroachment and construction of walls.

The NHAI said that blockage of these culverts had badly affected the entire drainage system of the highway in Gurugram and it could have a damaging impact on the entire exercise to prevent waterlogging during monsoon.

In a letter (a copy of which is with HT) written to the district administration on June 24, Ashish Sharma, member secretary, NHAI, stated that out of 36 culverts on the highway in Gurugram, only 10 were functional. The letter said that 26 outlets were blocked either due to encroachment or a boundary wall had been constructed.

Delhi, in comparison, has 18 culverts on the expressway. Out of which only one is non-functional and this was the main reason that while the highway witnessed flooding during monsoon in Gurugram, it is relatively unaffected by storm water in Delhi, a senior NHAI official said citing the same letter.

The 28-km Delhi-Gurgaon expressway is one of the busiest stretches in the NCR, but it has witnessed regular waterlogging between Rajiv Chowk and Kherki Daula, particularly at Hero Honda Chowk. In August 2016, the city witnessed ‘Gurujam’ — a 20-hour-long jam due to flooding of Hero Honda Chowk — and last year the underpass built at this crossing was flooded due to reverse flow of water at Khandsa drain.

Although several steps have been taken by multiple local agencies, there is still apprehension that things could go wrong if there is heavy rain, said officials. “We have raised this matter with the local authorities and efforts are being made but concerns still remain. We have doubled the pumping capacity at the Hero Honda Chowk and adjoining areas as well. But in case there is intense rain like last year, there could still be problems,” said Ashok Sharma, project director, NHAI.

Highway officials said that the responsibility to keep the drains functional along the expressway is their job, but to provide an outlet for discharge of storm water is the job of local civic agencies. “The job of preventing encroachments, ensuring that garbage is not dumped in the drains and sewage water is not diverted into them has to be done by local civic agencies,” said Sharma, adding that in Delhi a longitudinal drain was functional and it allowed the movement of run-off water during monsoons.

The reason why the highway authority has expressed strong concern at the situation is that it received flak whenever flooding took place on the expressway, particularly at Hero Honda Chowk.

The NHAI letter to the district administration further says that due to blockage of culverts, the entire drainage system has become defunct on the highway and this was due to lack of enforcement on part of civic agencies.

It also says that despite repeated concerns raised by the NHAI, the civic authorities have failed to prevent dumping of garbage by residents along the storm water drains and this made the problem more complicated.

When asked about the matter, Amit Khatri, deputy commissioner, Gurugram, said that the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) was working on de-congesting the outlets of these culverts as this work could only be done by a municipal agency. “We are working to resolve this issue and steps are being taken to clean all other major and minor drains along the highway to prevent waterlogging in the city,” said Khatri.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 04:00 IST

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