Baijal chairs meeting on waterlogging, asks for technology driven solutions

Delhi: 4 Sept, 2021 (Hindustan Times)

Senior officials said the L-G was of the opinion that the situation needed to be handled with better and updated engineering solutions.


Waterlogging after heavy rains near Saket Metro Station, on September 1, 2021. (Sanjeev Verma/HT)

Lieutenant-governor Anil Baijal on Friday helmed an emergency meeting to discuss the problem of waterlogging, which has been plaguing the national capital over the past week due to incessant rain, and directed officials to prepare a master plan to tackle this chronic and seemingly irresolvable issue.

He also asked every agency concerned to set up an internal committee to find better flood control measures and response mechanisms, while deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia directed the constitution of an expert committee to come up with a holistic strategy to deal with the problem in the short and long term.

Earlier this week, Delhi roads, shops and even hospitals were inundated for at least two consecutive days, Tuesday and Wednesday, in the aftermath of heavy rain.

Friday’s emergency meeting was attended by Sisodia, PWD and irrigation and flood control minister Satyendar Jain, chief secretary Vijay Dev and all senior officials from the departments and agencies concerned, including the Delhi Development Authority, the three municipal corporations and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).Senior officials said the L-G was of the opinion that the situation needed to be handled with better and updated engineering solutions.

“He noted that despite the excuse of excessive rain, the situation needed to be addressed and better preparedness could have been put in place. The need for a short, medium and long term action plan to address the issue was reiterated,” said a senior official who attended the meeting, on condition of anonymity.

A second official, who also attended the meeting, said Baijal asked each agency to constitute an internal committee of experts to evaluate the problem, and chalk out a plan of action based on past experiences.

“It was felt that the annual pre-monsoon drain de-silting exercise was not enough. He (Baijal) directed that de-silting of drains, nallahs and catchment areas must be done continuously to prevent waterlogging. Agencies were also advised to explore and adopt the latest mechanised methods for achieving permanent solutions,” the second official said.

Later, it was decided that all agencies concerned will now identify areas vulnerable to waterlogging, conduct a fresh survey and prepare a master plan to tackle the issue.

After the meeting, Sisodia said, “The responsibility to mitigate this (waterlogging) will be with the primary agency (under whose jurisdiction the waterlogged area/drain/road lies)with the rest of the agencies providing support. This time, Delhi received more rain than in previous years and as a result faced waterlogging in many places. To eliminate the problem, it is important that all agencies work together to draw up short- and long-term plans and execute it.”

Pointing to the problem of waterlogging at two major points, the ITO and NH-24, Sisodia directed officials to come up with a technology-driven solution at the earliest. “Whenever it rained this year, a pond formed near ITO and on the slip road of NH 24. But, this problem can be solved only when all agencies, including NHAI, MCD and PWD, work together,” he said.

A Delhi Jal Board official present in the meeting said waterlogging near ITO was caused by water and sewer pipelines of the DJB overflowing or bursting.

The L-G’S office did not issue a statement on the meeting.