Rain-hit city infra yet to get back on its feet | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Rain-hit city infra yet to get back on its feet

Jul 01, 2024 06:14 AM IST

IMD warns of heavy rain and gusty winds in Delhi over next three days, prompting increased preparations after record rain on Friday.

More rain is likely to lash Delhi over the next three days, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Sunday, warning of heavy rain and gusty winds in this time, a forecast that prompted authorities to ratchet up preparations, even as the national capital hobbled back onto its feet after a record spell of rain on Friday shook the city’s brittle infrastructure, stunted public services and left at least 11 people dead.

Pragati Maidan tunnel open for traffic on Sunday. (Arvind Yadav/HT)
Pragati Maidan tunnel open for traffic on Sunday. (Arvind Yadav/HT)

The weather department has issued an “orange alert” for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, predicting that the week will kick off with heavy rain, it said in its forecast on Sunday, days after monsoon announced its arrival over the national capital with an explosive 234.5mm rain on Friday morning.

Mahesh Palawat, vice-president at private forecaster Skymet, concurred and said rainfall is likely to get more intense on Monday as the monsoon trough returns closer to Delhi.

“Currently, the trough is south of Delhi, but it will begin to move northwards on Monday and is likely to be directly over Delhi on Monday and Tuesday. This will lead to an increase in rain intensity again,” he said.

The unprecedented spell of rain on Friday gave Delhi its wettest June day since 1936 and precipitated a series of accidents, including a collapsed roof at the Indira Gandhi International Airport that crushed a taxi driver to death.

Delhi struggled to shrug off the bruising effects of Friday’s showers – sanitation workers fanned across the city to clear out sludge from drains; power supply at the Delhi zoo was restored on Sunday after three days; the Wazirabad water treatment plant remained inoperational, squeezing water supply to central and north Delhi; the Okhla underpass, where a 60-year-old man died on Saturday, remained flooded; and the Pragati Maidan was reopened late on Sunday evening, even as civic staff worked to sweep out the layers of dust the floods had left behind on the key corridor.

Commuters, meanwhile, struggled with a series of detours and traffic jams. The prolonged closure of the Okhla underpass, for instance, has multiplied travel times for people who use the busy stretch in southeast Delhi.

Terminal 1 of the IGI Airport – where a canopy collapsed at the departure forecourt collapsed on Sunday, killing the taxi driver and wounding eight – remained shut, with SpiceJet and IndiGo continuing operations from terminals 2 and 3.

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), which operates IGIA, did not detail a timeline on when operations are likely to resume at T1, saying this was still in the “evaluation process”.

Pumping operations at the Chandrawal water treatment plant continued to remain impacted on Sunday — three days after backflow flooded the station and damaged it’s motors.

A June 30 report by the Delhi Jal Board said the plant supplied 41 million gallons per day (mgd) of water, against its 98mgd capacity – a 57mgd shortfall. The Delhi government directed DJB to inspect the other nine water treatment plants in the city and ensure they are not affected by similar problems.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government formed a joint emergency control room where people can register waterlogging complaints.

Meanwhile, Delhi PWD minister Atishi, while inspecting flood-prone sites, said the pump-house capacity at Minto Bridge – which flooded once again on Friday, in what has become a monsoon recurrence for Delhi – will be increased.

“PWD has built an additional drainage line here. Due to heavy rains, the pumps deployed at Minto Bridge underpass took time to drain out the water. To prevent such a situation from arising again, we will increase the capacity of the pump house here and use new technologies to prevent waterlogging,” she added.

A PWD official said all the waterlogging points under its jurisdiction have been dewatered and that additional pumps are being procured to increase pumping capacity at vulnerable sites.

Delhi mayor Shelly Oberoi inspected the Kishanganj railway underbridge, another waterlogging hotspot, and said six pumps have been installed and two more will be set up to keep the site from inundating.

“A quick reaction team has been formed to quickly act on waterlogging complaints. We have asked deputy commissioners to deploy extra sanitation workers and remove the silt from the impacted streets,” she added.

At Barapullah drain, where overflow led to permanent pumps being submerged in water, MCD has installed temporary pumps and a super sucker machine to check waterlogging. “In the coming days, our effort will be to ensure that such waterlogging does not reoccur in Delhi,” said Oberoi.

Friday’s showers also brought several parts of Lutyens’ Delhi to their knees, causing widespread waterlogging in VIP areas, at bungalows occupied by members of Parliament, as well as popular areas like Connaught Place, Kartavya Path and Khan Market.

A senior New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) official on Sunday said the civic body has assigned staff to oversee operations at vulnerable points to ensure timely interventions.

IMD has forecast moderate to heavy showers till July 6, issuing an orange alert for heavy rain in parts of Delhi between July 1 and 3.

The alert has been scaled down to yellow between July 4 and 6, with moderate showers expected during that period.

IMD classifies rainfall between 64.5mm and 115.5mm in 24 hours as “heavy” and above that threshold as “very heavy”.

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