Every time the precipitation in the national Capital goes over the mark, the city inevitably turns into a watery grave, drowning in its own ineptness. Despite the tall claims of the Delhi government, and the paltry self-defences produced by the Public Works Department as well as the three municipal corporations, it is now absolutely clear that our beloved Delhi succumbed like a sponge to the ravages of Saturday’s downpour. That the rains were found to be the third highest in a decade made the matters only worse, with 123 mm of rain bringing the city to a grinding halt, as the roads got water-logged, drains overflowed mixing the sewage with the water, adding to the woes of the Capital’s hapless residents. With flooded roads, power cuts and protracted traffic jams turning the city into a veritable hell hole, the beauty and romance of the monsoon got lost for the denizens of the national capital, for whom, even staying back at home did not alleviate their troubles as several of the houses and ground floor apartments had to brave the rushing waters that damaged goods and property. It is obvious that the city’s antediluvian drainage system is not equipped to counter the whimsies of weather conditions, and any meteorological fluctuation is enough to bring its glaring inefficiencies to sharp relief. Yet, the government, instead of devising mechanisms to tackle the infrastructural shortcoming more competent, invariably resorts to petty blame-games, with the rival political factions trying to score brownie points over the national capital’s share of the monsoon mayhem.
Despite the PWD’s claims of spending Rs 20 crore overhauling the drainage system and desilting the roads and clearing the clogged pores of the Capital, the deadline for which was breached at least twice, it is now evident that the city would be reeling under a deluge of knee-deep dirty water every time the weatherman makes a bad forecast. Not only were the roads and the underpasses flooded, even the state of the art Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International airport could not cope with the watery onslaught, in spite of the government’s claim to it being a world-class civil aviation project. Only the traffic policemen, who waded through the filthy waters and tried dissipating the gridlock on the arterial roads of Delhi played their part valiantly, in the midst of the shrill cacophony over who to put the blame on. What needs to be investigated urgently is the reason behind the crumbling amenities, even though thousands of crores have been pumped in to give Delhi a makeover, particularly in the run up to the Commonwealth Games of 2010. In the wake of the recent Uttarakhand disaster, the governments, both at the central and the state and union territory levels, must wake up now and smell the coffee.