Monsoon blues

Monsoon blues

Last week, when the skies opened up, it didn’t just deluge roads causing traffic jams, but also submerged ground floor homes leading to irreparable loss of household goods. Residents of South Delhi, especially, bore the brunt of nature’s fury as their low-lying homes were inundated, furniture started floating and several valuable household artefacts were lost forever.

Safdarjung Enclave may be known as the abode of the high and mighty in Delhi, but they too, could not escape the rain’s wrath. Seventy-one year old Suresh Gupta, a resident of B-block in Safdarjung Enclave and trader in electronic goods, says, “I have been residing here for the past 30 years. Never in my life have I seen such a downpour.”

“I have a basement office at home. I have all my extremely expensive electronic items stored there. Till last year, I had never had an instance of rainwater seeping into my basement. This time, it was flooded. All my electronic goods are lost. It’s a damage of Rs 50 lakh at least.”

Swati Roy, who owns a children’s bookstore in Alaknanda, has suffered a loss of books and equipment worth Rs 60,000 at least. She says, “Our expensive dictionaries and encyclopedias are all gone.”

Partho Bhowmik of Chittaranjan Park used to pride himself on his antique furniture and matching designer interiors. Now, he says, he would better sell off the antique furniture to a kabadiwallah. “I spent a fortune purchasing an antique ebony wood sofa set, tables and chairs. After having being soaked in two feet of water for over half-a-day, the antique look is gone and I know that they have a shelf life of a few months only.”

It is not just loss of goods, but also hygiene and health-related issues which are bothering residents. BP Mandal, president, Amar Colony Residents’ Welfare Association says, “If I remember correctly, MCD did conduct a desilting exercise in our area sometime back, but God knows how they did it, since all the sewage came rushing back during the recent downpour.”

“In Amar Colony, our septic tanks are located in the backyard, next to the kitchen. Now all the dirt has flown back swamping the kitchens. The concept of hygiene in our Indian kitchens has gone for a toss. Now, we are worried about the spread of diseases.”

Nishchal Dubey bought a brand new car only recently. Driving through flooded streets, his car engine stopped working. “When I took it to the workshop, they demanded Rs 50,000 saying it’s not covered by the insurance scheme. They also showed me fine print saying ‘the scheme doesn’t cover natural calamities.’” Perhaps  he should take the route taken by Paresh Rawal in OMG! Oh My God to claim his insurance.

“If waterlogging in Delhi is a natural calamity, I demand compensation. Why should I be made to pay for laxity on the part of our civic authorities?” he demands and
wisely so.

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