Flood Preparedness: MCD fails to meet deadline, DDMA ready to tackle the crisis

- July 1, 2024
| By : Saurav Gupta |

The Municipal Corporation of Delhi has managed to desilt only 250 out of 713 drains so far although the corporation promises fully-equipped control rooms and round-the-clock staff; DDMA has put divers and boats in place

Flood Preparedness: As the monsoon season approaches, fear of flood looms large over the national capital. Multiple agencies including Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) in the city are preparing to battle with the crisis that wreaked havoc last year.

MCD has so far failed to meet the deadline for desilting of drains under its jurisdiction.

The municipal corporation has released its action plan focussed on key areas such as timely desilting of drains, identification of waterlogging hotspots and creating control room for monitoring waterlogging incidents.

According to a senior MCD official, privy to the development, desilting work is in full swing as per monsoon action plan, with 70% work of desilting of the first phase already done.

“MCD has prepared a comprehensive Monsoon Action Plan to address the issue of waterlogging during the upcoming rainy season. The action plan is mainly focussed on key areas such as timely desilting of drains, identification of waterlogging hotspots and creating control room & constitution of teams for monitoring waterlogging incidents with an emphasis on ensuring seamless coordination across various departments,” the official said.

Also read: Rs 10 lakh compensation for kin of those who drowned due to heavy rain: Delhi govt

Desilting work

“MCD has been working to meet the target of cleaning all the drains under its jurisdiction before the onset of monsoon. The corporation has successfully completed 70% of desilting,” MCD official said.

However, as per data accessed by Patriot, out of the 713 drains which come under the corporation’s jurisdiction, only 250 drains have been completely desilted to date.

The data stated that only 35% drains have been desilted in the Capital despite last year’s flood which were caused mainly due to choked drains in Delhi.

The MCD failed to meet its target and said that the work to desilt the remaining drains is in full swing.

Notably, MCD is responsible for the cleaning of the drains which have depth of more than four feet.

Informing about the process of desilting, he said, “The desilting work for the majority of drains is being carried out through outsourcing. In this operation, the agencies use excavators/JCB, pocklane, manual labour for taking out silt and the transported silt is then dumped at SLF (Secured Landfill Facility) sites. The floating material on a day-to-day basis is taken care off by nallabeldars.”

Setting up of control rooms and zonal teams

“The MCD has set up a control room at headquarter level as well as in all 12 zones. They will remain operational during the monsoon season. All the zonal heads, including DCs, have been briefed and sensitised to remain alert during rains and immediately take prompt action with regard to deployment of manpower and resources,” he informed.

“Teams at ward level are constituted. They include Junior Engineer (JE) in-charge, Nalla/Works beldar and Mate of the ward.  Sufficient manpower at JE store shall remain stationed in a shift to handle any emergent situation and simultaneously deal with the waterlogging problem. A detailed duty roster by all zones has been prepared and required staff has been deployed. There is sufficient manpower and machinery to attend to the complaint,” MCD official.

He also said that staff will be available 24×7 for all permanent pumping stations during the monsoon season.

“Total permanent pumps are 72 and temporary pumps are 465. Teams are formulated at each municipal store with sufficient pumps to attend waterlogging issues in their area. Maintenance of pumps and desilting of sump wells at pumping stations are carried out before the onset of monsoon,” the MCD official added.

Preparations by the DDMA

Amol Srivastava, the District Magistrate of East Delhi, who is in-charge of the flood preparations, said, “The major flood prone areas in the national capital have been identified. They include all the adjoining areas near by Yamuna embankments, which fall in jurisdiction of North, North-East, Shahdara, East, Central and South-East districts. The stretch starts from Palla Bakhtawarpur and is up to Okhla Barrage.”

Giving details about the warning systems regarding the flood, Srivastava said, “When the information is received from central agencies about the water discharged from Hathni Kund Barrage, it is informed to Central Flood Control Room (CFCR), following which steps are taken by the local government/agencies to evacuate the people from suitable areas accordingly.

“Announcement is made in these areas along with the help of [visual] media and print media,” he added.

“In case of emergency, proper arrangements are made by all departments. Timely meetings are held for any emergency situation with all the departments concerned,” Srivastava said.

The East Delhi DM said that a total of 37 boats have been deployed at the boat club and the vulnerable area of the Yamuna river.

“A total of 62 divers will be deployed 24×7 to help the people evacuate in case of emergency,” he said adding that the Boat Club is fully functional and equipped with all the necessary resources.

When asked about the coordination and communication between the multiple agencies, he said CFCR is set up every year on June 15 at the office of the District Magistrate East and it is functional round the clock.

“All the nodal officers of the departments concerned with flood management and control are attached with CFCR to ensure seamless coordination.”

Informing about the evacuation centres, the East Delhi DM said that they have already identified shelter and safe areas for people in all the six districts which are prone to flood.

Also read: Delhi Rains: Six more rain-related deaths, toll reaches 11 in first two days of Monsoon

“These centres are either the school buildings, which have facilities of electricity, fans, food and drinking water. The other arrangement is temporary shelters like tents where all facilities like electricity, fans, food and drinking water are provided. Proper arrangement for sanitation and medical camps are also present in various places,” Srivastava added.

Yamuna swelled to 208-metre in 2023

In 2023, the water level of the Yamuna breached the 208-metre mark to give way to the worst-ever recorded flood in 45 years in Delhi, since 1978.

Keeping that in mind, the work to desilt the area around the ITO Barrage is on at a frenetic pace.

Last year’s floods forced more than 25,000 people to leave their homes along the floodplains and move to relief camps. Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla water treatment plants were shut and Delhi faced a serious drinking water shortage.

Areas near ITO, Ring Road, Kashmere Gate, Old Delhi, Civil Lines, and East Delhi were inundated within a day; water surrounded the Red Fort and even reached the doorstep of the Supreme Court. In the middle of all this was the ITO Barrage with five jammed gates which the Indian Navy and its divers opened after a month-long operation.

The Delhi government’s Irrigation and Flood Control Department started work in the area nearly two months ago to make sure there is no repeat of last year.