Rain woes at Pragati Maidan, AAP hits out at L-G; water cleared in an hour: official

Contingency plan activated soon after it rained on Saturday night, says Raj Niwas official; water pumped out by 6 a.m., hours before delegates were scheduled to arrive at the venue, official adds

September 11, 2023 01:06 am | Updated 02:43 am IST - New Delhi

 Water accumulated near Gate No.5 of Bharat Mandapam on Sunday following overnight rain, prompting the authorities to activate a plan meant to deal with rain-related problems. 

 Water accumulated near Gate No.5 of Bharat Mandapam on Sunday following overnight rain, prompting the authorities to activate a plan meant to deal with rain-related problems.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

With heavy rain lashing the city since Saturday, images and videos of stagnant water at Bharat Mandapam, the G-20 Leaders’ Summit venue, surfaced on social media on Sunday. Sharing one such video on X (formerly Twitter), Delhi Urban Development Minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Saurabh Bharadwaj took a swipe at Lieutenant-Governor V.K. Saxena, demanding that “heads must roll”.

A Raj Niwas official said a contingency plan to deal with rain-related problems was activated on Saturday night soon after it began to pour. The official added that the authorities had cleared the rainwater hours before the delegates arrived for the second day of the summit.

The Centre-appointed L-G and the AAP government have been at loggerheads over the preparations for the global event, which concluded on Sunday, for the past few weeks.

Tagging the L-G in a purported video of the summit venue, showing machines flushing out water, on X, Mr. Bharadawaj said, “Even after your 50+ inspections, if the main area around the Mandapam is submerged, then heads must roll. I, as a Delhi Minister, don’t have control over the area; else, I would have assisted you, sir.”

Delhi received 38.6 mm of rainfall in the 24 hours ending at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The city also witnessed scattered rain during the day.

‘L-G acted promptly’

A Raj Niwas official said the L-G activated the contingency plan when it started to rain following the dinner hosted by President Droupadi Murmu for the G-20 delegates.

The official added that waterlogging was reported at 5 a.m. on Sunday near Gate No.5 of the summit venue. However, the accumulated water was drained out by 6 a.m., hours before the delegates were scheduled to arrive on the second day of the global event.

He also said the rainwater was pumped out from other areas in the New Delhi district prone to waterlogging within 15 minutes.

“During the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other G20 delegates to Rajghat on Sunday, the L-G directed that the floor, drenched by the drizzle, be mopped and dried in the 90-second interval between the arrival of each dignitary,” the official also said.

Meanwhile, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) Vice-Chairman Satish Upadhyay said over 1,000 civic agency workers as well as Quick Response Teams worked to prevent waterlogging in New Delhi. The NDMC said 19 instances of waterlogging were reported from various locations, including Janpath, Sikandra Road, C Hexagon, and Copernicus Marg.

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