Gurugram prepared for monsoon, says GMDA CEO V Umashankar
With monsoon expected to hit the city this week, Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) CEO V Umashankar, the head of the nodal agency responsible for ensuring Gurugram is prepared for the monsoon, gives updates and his insight into the city’s monsoon preparedness in an interview with Hindustan Times.
Is the city prepared for the monsoon season?
The city’s civic authorities have done a better job this year than that of the previous years. We will be able to handle the amount of rainfall that caused ‘Gurujam’. Only if there is a cloudburst than we are going to have a major issue as the city is topographically placed in a low lying area, and receives run-off rainwater from the hills (Aravalli). Owing to the urbanisation and concretisation of drains, rainwater does seep into the ground, and the drains are not equipped to handle such water load.
Have the drains across the city been unclogged yet?
GMDA has allotted all tenders for desilting drains. The leg one of drains, which are in areas most prone to waterlogging, have been unclogged. There were issues in allotting tenders for leg two, which are the connecting drains, as the contractors were quoting a price higher than normal rates this year. It was only after a third meeting, which took place last week, that modified tenders were allotted. We have taken a calculated risk, as some sections of the connecting drains will not be cleaned completely but waterlogging will be contained. A review of the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram’s work on desilting drains is also scheduled this week.
The narrowing of Badshahpur drain at Khandsa village was identified as the core reason for the 2016 deluge, but work on widening the drain is still not complete. Can we expect a repeat of 2016?
Since the widening work is not completed, plan B has been put into place. As a temporary measure, large pipes have been placed at the drain in Khandsa village to ensure water flows from one side of the drain to the other. Likewise, piling work is also being carried out.
Two hours of moderate rainfall on June 9 left the Hero Honda Chowk underpass and two carriageways of the Delhi¬gurgaon Expressway waterlogged. What measures have the authorities undertaken since then?
The overflowing of the Badshahpur drain was the main cause for waterlogging of the two carriageways and measures have been put in place to counter this. As for the Hero Honda Chowk underpass, we identified that some of the receding water from the overflow circulated back to the underpass. Work is on to link the drainage system in the underpass to the main Badshahpur drain.
Are any relief measures in place to prevent a repeat of the 2016 deluge?
The GMDA has set up its own control room for coordination purposes, in case of such an eventuality. Relief measures have been divided between the district administration and the GMDA. The former will look after the immediate relief measures, while the latter will look after the hardware aspect. GMDA has, hence, procured a stock of hydra cranes, extra motor pumps and super suction machines.
Last year, 50 home guards had been deployed by the Gurugram police, on MCG’S request, for directing traffic during the monsoon at key junctions on the expressway. But since then, barring one, all the underpasses have become operational, and we have received an informal communication from the Gurugram police indicating there is no need for deployment of additional force.
What are the long¬term measures to ensure waterlogging does not occur in the city?
There is a plan in place to build a drain along the SPR (Southern Peripheral Road) and CPR (Central Peripheral Road) to reduce the load on the Badshahpur drain, by diverting some of the water to the new one. This will take three years or more. Overall, monsoon preparedness is not a solo agency effort and needs coordination among agencies such as MCG, Huda, Gurugram police and the district administration. Streamlining the drainage requires three to four years of continuous efforts by all agencies before we can say that we are equipped to handle monsoon without taking any additional measures.
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