Wringing- Wet Delhi

“Rain, rain go away, Come again another day”.

We all remember this rhyme from our kinder-garden days. Well, today our story of life has exactly become like this. It is very unfortunate for us to have wishing for less rain here in Delhi as it has taken a heavy toll on the normal day-to-day life, taking it totally out of gear. Our capital city is baffled with water-logging in various parts of the city as a result of continuous showers in Delhi, most mortifying being the two-hour heavy rain on Wednesday morning.

Not quite long ago the general public of Delhi had been praying and romanticizing for monsoon to arrive soon to relieve them from the unbearable heat of scorching summer. Fortunately, this year the prayers were heard sooner with cooling rains more than it’s usually expected in Delhi, until they realized what mayhem they were getting into. Due to continuous showers every little puddle, low areas and even roads have turned into mini lakes, causing people to wade through knee-deep water in several areas, water seeping into basements and traffic jams on the key roads of the city. This year Delhi has received 139.9mm of rain in August which is far beyond the normal 56.5mm.


The most direly affected regions are Okhla, South Extension, Karol Bagh and Greater Kailash. Also Wazirpur and Ashok Vihar, Ashram Chowk, Moolchand flyover, Nehru Place, IIT crossing, Yusuf Sarai and Kashmere Gate are some among the worst affected areas. Naturally, the normal life is disrupted and full of chaos. Traffic signals have stopped working at many places leading to inevitable traffic snarls. People are facing difficulty in commuting. A lot have reported that the main cause behind water-logging, overflowing drains, potholes and uprooted trees, which is adding to the misery of people, is due to the irresponsible civic bodies. People have also complained that, the sweepers while cleaning push away the dirt in the drains which clogs them leading to blockage during monsoon. The sewage is also not cleaned properly. The government is sorry for the inconvenience and trying to help out people in different affected parts of the city. They started a 24-hour helpline number to reach out to the suffering people but it seems this didn’t work out either adding to the woes. However, the usual blame game is right on top as usual. PWD claims to have cleaned the roads, sewage and drains properly nearly three months ago, and in the monsoon too but the roads under MCD should have been cleaned by the MCD which looks like they haven’t been cleaned for years and PWD are not to be blamed for it. The Delhi High Court directed the Delhi government to set up a committee to find a short term and a long term solutions for the problem.


Whatsoever, the one more thing that complicates these responsibility issues is that Delhi has multiple agencies passing the buck for maintaining civic infrastructure. Three municipal corporations for different parts of the city, a fourth for official government enclaves of the city, a Public Works Department, and Highway authorities, are supposed to share the responsibilities of the city. But all they are doing now is blaming each other for inconveniences as the news have reported. Delhi received an extra 148 mm rainfall than the usual in this week and these civic bodies are unable to tackle the havoc.

Metropolitan cities in India face such disasters year after year and yet do not learn from the experiences or get geared and prepared for the next time if such a calamity occurs. This water-logging is not just the story of Delhi, but also Mumbai and Kolkata. While our dear PM Narendra Modi ambitiously plans and aspires to turn our major cities into smart cities, the ground reality seems to be quite contrary and appalling. The weather department has predicted more rain in the coming weeks. The denizens of Delhi are being warned to brace themselves for a very very wet and soggy week ahead.