Civic bodies pass the buck over monsoon preparedness

new delhi: With heavy rains lashing the Capital from Saturday night and well into Sunday morning, at least five people have died in water-related incidents, one of whom drowned to death in a waterlogged underpass near the Minto Bridge. However, all governing bodies in Delhi, including the municipal corporations and the Public Works Department on Sunday began a blame game over the lack of preparedness for Delhi's first showers as the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal maintained that blaming other agencies was not a solution at such a time and that working together is the only way out.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said that the Delhi government is closely monitoring the situation in the city with respect to waterlogging in various parts and that appropriate steps will be taken to cover the losses due to heavy rains. "The situation is being constantly monitored and we are in touch with our engineers and taking the report," Sisodia told reporters.

He requested the BJP to work together and not indulge in a blame game. "Instead of pointing out shortcomings or faults of other departments it is time to work together," he said.

BJP MP Manoj Tiwari alleged that the Delhi government's preparations have been exposed by the first spell of monsoon rains.

Slamming the chief minister, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta in a tweet said that it is just the beginning of monsoon and asked the AAP dispensation to take concrete steps as soon as possible to prevent waterlogging.

"Minto Bridge area comes under the PWD of Delhi government. There is a pump which was not started in time and the DJB line which carries the lifted water was also choked. We have been raising these issues in the past," he said.

But Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in a tweet in Hindi said, "This year, all agencies, be it Delhi government or MCD (civic body), were busy in prevention of COVID-19. They faced many difficulties due to corona. This is not the time to blame each other. All have to fulfil their responsibilities together. Wherever there is waterlogging, we will try to pump out water immediately."

AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said cleaning of drains is the responsibility of Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Public Works Department and Delhi Jal Board.

"Three agencies have the responsibility of cleaning the drains - MCD, PWD and DJB. Different agencies have responsibility for cleaning different drains. No one expected there would be such heavy rainfall and it is not the time to accuse each other," he said.

However, both the New Delhi Municipal Council and the South Delhi Municipal Corporation have squarely absolved themselves of responsibility in this situation. While officials of the NDMC said that no waterlogging was reported in their areas and all water was drained out in a timely manner; the SDMC said that the waterlogging in ITO area, where a man drowned was under the jurisdiction of the PWD.

Significantly, the SDMC added that senior officials including the Commissioner visited affected areas and also deployed three "super sucker" machines with 18 tankers to help pump out the water.

In a statement, AAP spokesperson and DJB Vice-Chairperson Raghav Chadha said the water-logging problem has been a huge issue but in the last 2-3 years, after the Aam Aadmi Party government came to power, the situation has drastically changed.

Chadha said it is unfortunate that at a time when all agencies are busy in working to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the BJP is blaming them for the water-logging


"Every year before the monsoon around March and April, the Delhi government executes the desilting of the drains. The municipal corporations of Delhi also execute the same for the drains which are under their jurisdiction," he said.

"But due to COVID pandemic this year, this work could not happen effectively. However, after the lockdown, the work started and both the Delhi government and BJP ruled and MCDs have started the work of desilting of the drains," he added.

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