Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday said a “world class drainage system” will be developed across the national capital.
He said drainage systems like the one at Minto Road here will be replicated across Delhi and drains and sewers will be desilted regularly.
The chief minister made the announcement after taking part in a review meeting on city’s drainage system with officials from Public Works Department (PWD), civic bodies, Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC).
The meeting was chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.
“Considering the monsoon, a review meeting with PWD, MCD, DJB, I&FC under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor was conducted on Delhi’s drainage system.
“Minto Road type system will be developed at other (vulnerable) points in Delhi. Regular cleaning of drains and sewers will be ensured. We will develop a world class drainage system in Delhi,” Kejriwal said in a tweet in Hindi after the meeting.
Minto Road rail under bridge is city’s most vulnerable point for waterlogging. This underpass is a crucial connection between the upmarket area of Connaught Place and other parts of central Delhi such as New Delhi railway station, Ramlila Ground etc.
In July 2020, a 56-year-old man allegedly died of drowning when his mini-truck was submerged in water under the Minto Bridge in central Delhi.
However, unlike last year, this year so far, there was no waterlogging reported from underneath the Minto Bridge.
PWD officials said nearly nine pumps have been installed to flush out water from Minto bridge apart from setting up sound alarm along with blinkers and CCTVs cameras for swift action and real time monitoring.
“Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal convened a review meeting with PWD, MCD, DJB, I&FC departments on Delhi’s drainage system. Elaborate discussions were done on the issue of better discharge of water during monsoon in Delhi.
“Drainage systems like the one in Minto Road will be replicated across Delhi. Drains and sewers will be desilted regularly. World class drainage system will be developed in Delhi, the Chief Minister’s Office tweeted after the meeting.
“I want to congratulate all the officers and engineers. Their work at the Minto Bridge has proven that we have the capacity to curb water-logging at all the vulnerable points where water gets logged in Delhi. We know of 147 such vulnerable points. If we conduct extensive mapping, we can enlist all possible vulnerable points, the chief minister said.
Later in the day, the government released a statement where PWD Minister Satyendar Jain asked the agencies to be fully prepared and be on alert round the clock to combat any problem.
“In the next three days we are going to have excess rainfall, so we need to be fully prepared to handle the situation. We not only have to be alert during the day but extra alert during the night. We have over 1,500 pump sets. We should deploy them all.
“Our officers and engineers across departments need to be available and alert 24×7 because the next few days are going to need more attention,” he added.
PWD officials said there was no waterlogging underneath the Minto Road underpass so far because of elaborate arrangements made there to avoid water accumulation.
“Nearly nine pumps have been installed to flush out water from Minto bridge. Sound alarm along with blinkers and CCTVs have also been set up near Minto bridge for swift action and real time monitoring,” a senior PWD official said.
The official said other than increasing monitoring, case specific solutions were also adopted in the Minto bridge waterlogging case.
“Usually storm water from Minto Bridge used to get mixed with a sewer line of DJB on DDU marg, which used to cause back flow of water.
“To discourage this, we made a new drain along the Minto Road so that storm water doesn’t merge with DJB sewer on DDU marg. Now there is no waterlogging underneath the Minto Bridge,” the official explained.
In a government statement, the CM said earlier people would declare onset of monsoon after waterlogging at the Minto Bridge but this time monsoon came but the Minto Bridge did not get waterlogged.
“We have the capacity to curb water-logging and if departments work together, we can handle it. If solutions for all vulnerable points are planned and worked towards like the Minto Bridge, then we can bring Delhi freedom from water-logging,” the statement quoting Kejriwal said.
He said there were a lot of places in Delhi where drains of the DJB and the MCD converge and there is no coordination between them.
“I would like to suggest that PWD acts as the nodal authority and undertakes an exercise to redesign Delhi’s drainage system. If an excellent design is in place and all the agencies can work together on it, then we can implement it.
“Once such a system is in place, we would only require de-silting it once a year and the drainage system will be free of liability,” Kejriwal said in the statement.
According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the Southwest Monsoon had reached the capital on July 13, 16 days behind the usual date of its onset.
(Cover: Credit – Getty Images)