With the onset of monsoon, various problems like water logging, spread of diseases etc. creep in. RWA president of Def Colony talks about them
Defence Colony is full of greenery, with lots of trees. We have trees all along the drains of our area. The aim was to keep the colony green, but too much plantation has again posed its own problems — the dry leaves that fall end up clogging the drains.
Another problem is the drains should never have hard surface, instead there should be soil which can soak in the water. But Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) covers the drains by concretising the surface, which restricts the soaking process. And, desilting is not carried out in time. The monsoon has already started and quite a few of the drains have not yet been desilted.
There are two agencies involved – one who desilts and the second who picks up the silt. The time gap between the two process makes it problematic, as with heavy breeze the silt is carried back into the drain. Also, some drains are covered but some are open. In the covered drains, also, some portion of the slabs are missing which makes it difficult to clean.
Every year in March or April the government should start extensive cleaning. Since this is not done, I end up hiring my labour to constantly clean these drains so that they do not get clogged. We have got 20-25 water harvesting pits, which we are trying to connect with areas where there is waterlogging. Even with this moderate rainfall now, nearly every day I hire labour to keep cleaning the drains. But if there are two to three days of continuous rain, I don’t know what will happen.
Our civic agencies or other agencies like the Delhi Jal Board (DJB) start off their work without planning. In one portion of Defence Colony, the DJB is laying pipes. Now the rains have started and the mud also gets washed into the drains. After that the MCD is supposed to redo the roads. There is a gap of two to three weeks before the road is dug up for laying pipes. All these things – laying of pipes or cables should not be done in the monsoon season. Also, the civic bodies are slow. They have not yet desilted the drains. More effort is definitely required from their end.
Another thing which is indirectly connected to this is we have approached many civic bodies, including the newly formed Special Task Force, for removing hawkers and vendors from pavements. Because after food is served, they dispose of the plastic plates on the roads – that eventually finds it place in the drains. This again contributes to waterlogging.
Due to Master Plan 2021 allowing commercialisation of residential colonies, 200 people are living in an area which had 30 and around 100 cars in an area which had 20. The civic amenities are still the same, they have not expanded — only commercialisation has. Vehicular traffic, population, hawkers – all these have increased. This aggravates sewage issues as well. I have strongly taken up a case against Commercialisation of Defence Colony with the Monitoring Committee and have filed against this aspect in the Supreme Court as well.
Then a lot of construction work is going on, which contributes to clogging of drains. The builders are slightly careless regarding this. But I don’t have the power to monitor their activities. We are dependent on the MCD. If I had the power, I would have stopped all these and made sure the roads are clean, there is no waterlogging and spraying is done in time to prevent waterborne diseases.
Major Ranjit Singh (Veteran) is the President of Defence Colony Welfare Association and Club. He is a Veteran of the Indo-Pak War and runs a Security Company.
— As told to Shruti Das