Let blame games begin, once again

Wait and see whether Delhi govt will do a better job than municipal corporation

About two months ago, the Delhi government passed a resolution in the Assembly, taking over the maintenance of all 60-feet or wider roads in the Capital. It cited poor maintenance by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, leading to waterlogging and traffic jams and bringing shame to the Capital.

The Bharatiya Janata Party, which runs the three municipalities in Delhi, had then alleged that the gimmick was just to cut down MCD’s power and nothing would be done by the government.

Whether the BJP’s allegations are true will be proved this monsoon. 

However, going by the conditions on some roads after just brief spells of rain in the just-begun monsoon season, it looks unlikely that Delhi government will  achieve what MCD could not in the past. 

While public works department minister Raj Kumar Chauhan claimed that desilting drains is being carried out on war scale, the results have not been encouraging. 

“We have completed desilting on at least 95 per cent roads, while in the remaining few the work will be completed by the weekend. Delhi will see waterlogging-free roads this monsoon and I can assure you of much better conditions than the previous years,” Chauhan had said.

Despite the claims, waterlogging and traffic jams remained rampant, and excuses are already pouring in. “The MCD is still handing over these roads to us. Some roads we got only last week, while some are still to be handed over,” said a senior Delhi government official.

PWD officials have their own issues. Not only has the MCD given them the responsibility to look after overflowing drains, but are also charging them for dumping silt on corporation-owned landfills.

“The PWD is carrying out the desilting job for the first time. Earlier, the MCD used to desilt even PWD-owned roads. We are new to the business and will perhaps be able to do a much better job next time,” said a PWD engineer, who did not want to be named.

The official said desilting is an ongoing process and cleaning the drains once does not help. “Where is all the silt coming from? Obviously from colonies and roads maintained by the MCD. They don’t clean their roads and silt finally lands into drains on our roads,” said the official.

“We have to clean them again and again,” he said, adding that the matter was brought to the notice of the Chauhan in a meeting earlier this week. 

So, what did the minister say? “Do them again if you have to. But there should be no water on the roads,” Chauhan is known to have instructed officials.

Whether his order is followed or not, Delhiites will have to wait and see.

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