Staff Reporter

Only 20 of the 800-odd major drains cleaned; work on over 700 drains is still on

NEW DELHI: Delhiites might face a tough time if the monsoon hits the Capital by the end of this month as the Municipal Corporation of Delhi has so far cleaned only 20 of the 800-odd major drains and work on over 700 drains is still on.

Every year, before the onset of the monsoon, MCD starts cleaning the drains from early March. But this year, the issue of payment between the civic body and contractors led to a delay. Contractors began work after a few weeks when it was promised that they would get paid within three months of completion of the work.

The budget for cleaning of drains has been increased from Rs.15 crores to Rs.32 crores as 1,296 drains will be cleaned this year as against 1,210 last year. While 684 drains have been handed over to contractors for removing silt, 106 are being cleaned by various non-government organisations and over 30 by MCD itself.

Talking about the progress of work, Additional Commissioner (Environment Management Services) K.D. Akolia hoped that it would be completed by June-end. He also informed that they have identified at least 135 areas across the city that are prone to water-logging where special measures are being taken, while additional pump-sets are being installed in low-lying areas to drain out water.

However, Municipal Councillors have raised serious concern over the delay in work and non-removal of silt from drains. Leader of the Opposition in MCD Standing Committee Vijender Gupta said if the monsoon arrived early or on time in Delhi, many places would be left inundated and drains would be overflowing causing flooding in low-lying areas.

"With monsoon just 15 days away, only around 10 per cent of the entire work has been completed so far, which is a matter of serious concern," Mr. Gupta said.

He questioned the annual cleaning of drains and suggested starting routine cleaning so that work does not remain pending before the onset of the monsoon.