When an inundated Delhi reminded one of Venice!

September 9th, 2011 - 8:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 9 (IANS) Four hours of torrential rains, kilometres of traffic jams and the whole city brought to a standstill. Delhiites’ longing for rains came to an abrupt halt Friday and turned into rage against the capital’s civic agencies for their inefficiency in dealing with the situation.

While some light-heartedly compared Delhi to Venice — the beautiful Italian city where boats are the preferred mode of transportation, most slammed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for its shoddy preparations.

“It is time we move beyond MCD’s division and other interests. For the national capital to be submerged with just four hours of rains, it is shameful,” fumed Viniti Dhar, an office-goer who was stuck at the ITO intersection for over an hour.

“This is not the first time. Every time they say they are prepared, what happens after that,” Dhar asked.

Back in July, the civic agency had set up 12 zonal control rooms to address monsoon complaints, claiming that “help would be just a call away”.

The control rooms were meant to attend complaints regarding waterlogging, fallen trees, manhole covers, sanitation, repair of potholes, dangerous buildings and removal of dead animals.

“The point is not that you create helplines and wait for the city to be waterlogged. Why can’t the civic bodies think of filling the gaps in a preventive manner rather than doing damage control,” Shrinjayi Guha, a lecturer in Delhi University, said.

“For a metropolitan like Delhi, it may not be fair to blame the MCD alone. But there has to be some pondering over what happened last monsoon instead of passing the buck,” Guha said.

For officials within the civic agency, the body is running short of workers for desilting drains.

“MCD was suppose to appoint ‘nala beldaars’ (workers) before monsoon. It was not able to find them due to contract related problems. It is not willing to appoint them on contractual basis,” an official from the civic agency said on condition of anonymity.

MCD, on its part, said the “preparedness was a multi-agency task, and not the work of the civic agency alone”.

“If you talk about level of preparedness, MCD is not the only agency involved in the task. There is Delhi Jal Board (DJB), agencies conducting construction work, irrigation and flood control department, and others,” MCD spokesperson Deep Mathur told IANS.

For people who had to wade through knee-deep water and face difficulties in commuting to work, it was a tough grind.

Arnav Mohanty, who was commuting from Nehru Place to Cannaught Place, said: “All we need is a boat with the roads almost submerged. We have created a Venice in our city, what else does MCD has to say.”

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