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Greater Noida: Flooded underpass on Greater Noida Expressway following heavy rains in Greater Noida on Friday, September. 23, 2022. (PTI Photo) (
Incessant rains in Delhi NCR have led to water logging, paralyzing normality and exposing the civic chaos in the cities. Videos of people wading through waist-deep water known as the IT Hub & Center on September 22. -National companies and BPOs were similar to what we saw a few weeks ago from Bangalore, India’s IT hub, which was inundated by dangerous floods.
But almost every year when monsoons hit the capital region, the Minto Bridge tunnel or RTR flyover in Delhi, the Delhi-Gurugram expressway gets submerged; Traffic jams and vehicles stuck under water. In all cases, including Bengaluru, poor urban planning, be it lack of drainage systems or choking, poor infrastructure and concreting of drains is an obvious problem.
At the same time, these cities are known as financial centers of the country. Take the Ease of Living Index for cities with a population of over one million, Bengaluru ranks 1st in India with a score of 66.70, while Delhi ranks 13th with a score of 57.56. Gurugram, which comes under the 1 million population index, is ranked 8th in the list.
In Bengaluru, a 23-year-old woman was electrocuted when she tripped and got stuck on an electric pole while riding her scooter on a waterlogged road. Chief Minister Basavaraj Pupami has taken action to clearly show that the sewage is stagnant in the rainwater drains and the city has witnessed the disaster. He ordered the cleaning of encroached storm water drains (Rajakalves) in Puruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Nagar.
The civic authorities have even demolished a lane and a wall at the Technology Park on the Outer Ring Road to block the SWD, which was connected to the Bellandur Lake.
In case of Delhi, the drainage system is old, hence the Interim Report of Drainage Master Plan for Delhi 2021, which IIT Delhi’s Professor A.K. is cosine led. At present, stormwater drains are filled with solid waste, or carry sewage, and they are encroached and concreted natural stormwater drains.
The Master Plan highlights these points as solutions to the problems plaguing the drainage system. Storm water drains should not have encroachments, except sewage treated to acceptable standards as per CPCB norms, storm water drains should not have sewage. Dumping of road silt (before or after road sweeping – manual or otherwise) into bell-mouths/drains shall not be permitted. Road cleaning should be completely overhauled. The weight/quantity of sediment obtained after street sweeping should be recorded.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal reviewed the progress of the Delhi Drainage Master Project in August last year. According to official data, Delhi has approximately 2,846 drains with a total length of 3,692 km. Most of these drains are under the responsibility of the Public Works Department (PWD). The news in July that the Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) had discovered a 120-metre-long drainage section missing in an area near NH-8 was comically sad. Missed it, drainage was not even laid in the extended area during construction.
In May, the GMDA core planning cell had approved a drain dredging and cleaning project at a cost of Rs 57.1 lakh. A look at GDMA’s receipt and expenditure report and their expenditure from April to August this year shows that since June Rs. 89.99 lakhs for construction of RCC Box Drainage (Part of Master SWD Leg-1) Drainage has been taken up. Size 4.25×2.05 Mtr. Old Delhi Road to Gurugram on Master Road between Sector 18/19 in HSTIITC area.
The expenditure till June this year is Rs. 37.12 lakhs showing – split between May to June – the cost of operation and maintenance of surface drains, main drain interconnecting drains and boreholes. Sanjay Kumar, District Town Planner (Planning), Department of Town and Country, Gurugram, has published a web report, ‘Urban Flooding in Gurugram: Experiences and Initiatives’, jointly organized by the National Disaster Management Institute and Amity University, Haryana last year. Planning Haryana highlights the massive change in land use and the suffocation and disappearance of natural drainage systems such as the Badshapur drain.
He also alleged that in many places the drainage land is privately owned and multiple agencies are working in patches, creating a huge problem. The report also discusses that creation of water reserves like Wazirabad and restoration of many old lakes like Khata Lake in and around Gurugram have been undertaken and many are still in progress.
According to the report, ‘Urban Flood Disasters and Mitigation Practices – Cases of Srinagar, Gurugram and Chennai’, the lake, once covering an area of 370 acres, has been reduced to 2 acres, which means it is now stagnant. There were 388 water bodies in the city, out of which only a few such as Basai Lake, Sultanpur Lake and Tumtama Lake have survived.
It says that in 2016, during the massive bad water, NHAI (National Highways Authority of India) constructed a drain from Rajiv Chowk parallel to E-way to Badshapur drain. It is designed for rainwater from the rest of the power line to bypass the Hero Honda Chowk in Bron. But NHAI and Badshahpur are not connected by canal.
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