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Choked Delhi drains: Who is to blame?

New Delhi, July 25 : While rains in the past week have caused flooding on city roads, the Delhi government and civic agencies are engaged in trading the blame for the tardiness in clearing choked storm-water and other drains.


Public Works Department (PWD) Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan Wednesday sought to shift the blame for the state of the city's roads on the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD); the civic bodies retorted Thursday that they were only responsible for smaller drains.

Chauhan, in a statement, had said that the three civic corporations of Delhi were not allowing the government to dump silt cleaned from the drains at their dumping sites.

The leaders of the three corporations, in a joint statement issued Thursday, said the Delhi government first divided the corporation into three parts to weaken the local body and suppress its powers.

"Neither funds nor resources are being provided to the corporations to improve the sanitation system in the city. The corporations are also facing shortage of land to develop sanitary landfill sites. It is Delhi government's responsibility to provide land to the corporations for disposal of solid waste, but despite the continuous requests, the Delhi government has failed to do so," a statement from the three MCDs said.

Leader of the house in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mahender Nagpal said the government was only passing the buck, instead of admitting its guilt in the matter.

"Delhi government's PWD and flood and irrigation departments failed to manage the rain water. What planning does the PWD have for facing monsoons? They did not clean the drains and now they are blaming the MCD for it," Nagpal told IANS.

"MCD is only responsible for the small drains. Those were cleaned before the monsoon. But the problem is that since the bigger drains have not been cleaned, the water starts coming back (into the smaller drains)," Nagpal said.

He also slammed the PWD minister for claiming that the MCDs were not allowing the city government to dump the silt at the dumping sites of the civic agencies.

"PWD is asking MCD to provide dumping site. Why can't they arrange it on their own," he asked.

The MCD leader said that not enough funds were being provided to the corporations.

As the blame game continues, the common people face the brunt of flooding each time it rains heavily.

"The question is, why are no arrangements made to avoid water-logging before the arrival of the monsoon? In the blame game between the government and municipal corporations, the common man is sandwiched and suffers," said Anil Bajpai, president of Delhi Residents' Welfare Association (RWA) Federation.

"Due to water-logging, mosquito breeding and infections increase. Moreover, till the time cleaning doesn't happen, electricity cannot be provided to the residents," Bajpai told IANS.

"The problem of water-logging persists due to lack of proper drainage systems and no regular cleaning. Even the Metro authorities haven't built any system and water flows on roads, causing inconvenience," V.K. Arora, convener of the RWA Federation of east Delhi, told IANS.

Bajpai added: "Nobody sends the labourers to clean the drains and change the pipes, which are also smaller than required. The cleaning should happen at least twice a year, and smaller pipes should be replaced with bigger ones."

The Delhi High Court Wednesday asked civic agencies to desilt all drains within a week.

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) Shashi Kant Sharma has also ordered an audit of all flood control measures and the city's drainage system.

--IANS (Posted on 25-07-2013)

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