Delhi’s drainage system absolutely pathetic: HC on waterlogging

Drainage system in the national capital is “absolutely pathetic” and in a “very bad state of affairs”, the Delhi High Court Wednesday observed while asking authorities to wake up and act against the problem of waterlogging here.

The high court also said the agencies cannot be tamed by anyone, and added that the reform has to come from within the authorities and courts cannot do everything.

“The drainage system is in a very bad state of affairs. It had totally collapsed. Do we have a drainage system in Delhi or we don’t have it? It is absolutely pathetic. Look at the new areas which have been set up. The new construction gets flooded today. Who has constructed it? In today’s times it gets flooded when we have so many technologies,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice Manmohan and Justice Manmeet PS Arora said while referring to an underpass near Bharat Mandapam.

The high court was hearing two suo motu petitions, initiated on its own, on the waterlogging problem in Delhi and on the issue of rainwater harvesting and easing traffic jams in the national capital during monsoon and other periods.

Giving some instances of water logging in the New Delhi area, Justice Manmohan said, “Some of us were complaining that during monsoon we got fishes in our drawing rooms while we were vegetarians and in one of the bungalows, a snake came in with the flow of water.”

The court said sewage lines were broken at ITO, near the Delhi zoo and the high court.

The bench said while this was the callousness of the authorities in the New Delhi area, one cannot imagine the situation in other parts of the city.

“Take it as a wake up call and start working now itself. Don’t wait for April or for the monsoon. To put it mildly, things are very very bad and you agencies cannot be tamed by anyone. Everybody is a tiger in his own area, nobody listens to anyone or to any advice,” an annoyed bench said.

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It further said there was no common verified plan for drainage system and added that every year during monsoon, Delhiites get to see the “famous” photograph of Minto Bridge in Central Delhi submerged in water with a bus stuck under it.

“Absolutely pathetic situation. What are you all doing? Your sweepers dump garbage into drains and then you hire a contractor to clean the drains. There are no clear instructions on what they have to do. Things are very bad,” the bench said and asked the authorities to get instructions on the issue and listed the matter on January 16.

The court also asked the lawyers representing the agencies to have a “brain storming session” with the authorities and come up with some solutions.

The Centre, Delhi government, Delhi Development Authority, Municipal Corporation of Delhi, Delhi Police, Public Works Department, Delhi Jal Board, Delhi Cantonment Board, New Delhi Municipal Council and the Flood Irrigation Department are party to the petitions.

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