Only 120 of 627 rainwater harvesting pits in Gurugram cleaned
Having missed its earlier deadline to clean all rainwater harvesting pits in the city by June 15, the Municipal Corporation of Gurugram(MCG), whose concessionaire has only been able to clean 120 of 627 such pits, has set a fresh deadline of June 30 for the job even as pre-monsoon showers hit the city on Monday.
“So far 120 pits have been cleaned and the work is ongoing. We have empanelled an agency that is desilting all pits across the city. We would meet the target by the end of this month,” MCG executive engineer Dharamvir Mallik said.
He added that they weren’t able to meet the first deadline as they could not issues any work orders because the model code of conduct for the general elections.
In April, MCG officials had said that they would clean all rainwater harvesting pits by June 15 to allow groundwater recharge.
After failing to meet the deadline, MCG commissioner Vinay Singh, on Saturday, directed officials of the engineering wing to complete the work by June 30.
The issue of groundwater recharge is one of prime importance in Gurugram as its groundwater level decreased by two-and-a-half metres between 2014 and 2018, data from the agricultural department shows.
Additionally, according to the data by the Central Ground Water Board from 2013 to 2017, 78 out 128 blocks in Haryana are now in the over-exploited category.
Groundwater recharge is also among the key deliverables in the Gurugram-specific comprehensive drainage plan, as approved by chief minister ML Khattar on May 26. The chief minister had instructed that Gurugram, which experiences an average annual rainfall of 600-700 mm, must have “zero discharge system for run-off during monsoon”.
“I don’t understand why the MCG still has not completed the work. I have met the engineering wing officials numerous times, but they failed to give any concrete answer. If things continue to progress like this, the situation would be similar to last year’s or worse,” said Gauri Sarin, founder of Gurgaon Action Plan (GAP), a citizens’ body working in collaboration with the MCG and its concessionnaire to clean the city’s rainwater harvesting pits.
Most rainwater harvesting pits in the city were created in the early 2000s when Haryana Sahari Vikas Pradhikaran (HSVP) sectors and developer areas had started to expand. As per the Town and Country Planning (TCP) rules, HSVP and developers were mandated to install rainwater harvesting pits solely for recharging the groundwater table, in colonies, plotted areas and condominiums.
However, over the years, the city did not keep a count of this infrastructure. Last year, the MCG could only identify 360 pits to be cleaned.
This year, however, 627 rainwater harvesting pits have been identified in the city—360 in HSVP sectors and 267 in areas under MCG’s jurisdiction, officials said in Saturday’s meeting.
Last year, only 165 rainwater harvesting pits could be cleaned as the MCG was only able to finalise a contractor in the second week of July, —a month after monsoon had arrived.
Disagreement over pricing forced the MCG to float the tenders three times before one could be finalised.
Fearing a repeat of last year’s delay, the MCG finalised in January a full-time agency for identifying, cleaning and maintaining all rainwater harvesting pits, drains, and installing rainwater harvesting systems in residential and public bodies, across the city for a period of two years.