Civic bodies admit pandemic left them unprepared for rains

new delhi: While the Delhi government on Sunday said that the floods after the first spell of heavy rains in the Capital could not be avoided as all civic agencies were busy with handling the pandemic; civic body officials have also admitted the same, adding that many of their workers had either been affected by the virus or were in quarantine which slowed the annual preparation work before the monsoon showers.

Senior officials in the New Delhi Municipal Council have said that the COVID-19 pandemic had led to glitches in their preparation work.

Sources in the council said sanitation and drainage workers, who are assigned with desilting of drains were caught up in a mix of fear and anxiety, which had led to unpreparedness. They added that given the monsoon had started off slow, no one saw the sudden showers coming.

One official on the condition of anonymity said that panic and fear spread through workers after one employee assigned with cleaning drains was found COVID-19 positive and later succumbed to the disease. "After this many workers were afraid and went into quarantine because of which the work on cleaning the drains in time for the showers had slowed down," a source in the know said.

However, the SDMC maintained that all agencies had managed to come together and pump the water out by Monday morning. Sources in the corporation added that pandemic management had taken away a lot of their resources from monsoon preparation.

Nevertheless, Delhi BJP chief Adesh Gupta on Monday said the government should pay compensation to families of the four people who died in rain-related incidents and the people whose houses were damaged due to heavy rainfall and waterlogging on Sunday.

Meanwhile, AAP leader and Delhi Jal Board Vice-Chairman Raghav Chadha said that the BJP should stop playing politics over the issue and noted, "In Delhi, all the stormwater drains are under the BJP ruled MCDs. Question is why did the MCDs failed to perform the desilting of the drains in the areas under their jurisdiction."

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