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 Minto Bridge after heavy rainfall, in New Delhi (ANI Photo)
Minto Bridge after heavy rainfall, in New Delhi (ANI Photo)

Delhi Decoded: Why the national capital gets flooded each year

  • For Minto Road, the problem is peculiar as it has elevated roads on both sides which increase the chances of water collecting. Each year buses and other vehicles get submerged in water while navigating the stretch after a spell of heavy rain

NEW DELHI: Every year, the arrival of monsoon brings relief from the scorching heat, but in Delhi the rains bring with them a set of recurring problems -- flooding of the same area every year.

In central Delhi in 110002, the Minto Bridge underpass is one of the first to get flooded. There are images from every year going all the way back to the 1980s. For Minto Road, the problem is peculiar as it has elevated roads on both sides which increase the chances of water collecting. Each year buses and other vehicles get submerged in water while navigating the stretch after a spell of heavy rain.

Last week, engineers were rushed and a temporary pump was installed to drain out the water. Even though the water was drained out in a day, it led to the death of one person. Similar images were seen across the city through the week. On Wednesday, a part of the road in the iconic Ashoka Road in Lutyens Delhi also caved in due to excess rainfall.

In Delhi, this year the cleaning of drains was also delayed due to the ongoing battle against covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns that happened. With the process of de-silting not been carried out in time and an ongoing shortage of manpower has further delayed it.

“Since the Aam Aadmi Party government has come we have been working on this issue. The situation has improved in the last 3-4 years. Each year in March, drains under the Delhi government were cleaned. This year, due to covid-19, scheduled work like the de-silting of drains could not be done. This was taken up in June," Raghav Chadha, vice-chairman Delhi Jal Board and member of the Delhi legislative assembly told reporters on Sunday.

Delhi being a special state, different parts and their jurisdiction is spread between the AAP-led Delhi government, municipal corporations which are currently led by the Bharatiya Janata Party and some parts of the city even come under the central government. Experts believe that this division and lack of coordination also further delays work.

The last drainage plan prepared for Delhi is all the way back from 1976. Over the years, state governments have picked up the issue but largely the issue remains forgotten until the city-state floods again. Former chief minister Sheila Dikshit during her tenure had asked for a drainage plan to be made. More recently, the Aam Aadmi Party led Delhi government had also commissioned a study on the city’s drainage system. The problem at hand was so bad that the report recommended a complete overhaul of the city’s road and drainage infrastructure. The report also recommended that storm water drains be treated like public assets to prevent encroachment.

Delhi Decoded is a weekly podcast. You can listen to all the episodes here .

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